[27 August 2012]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
If you’ve ever heard the 1973 Frank Lowe album Black Beings, you’ll be glad to know that the tape kept rolling that night in the studio. The recently unearthed The Loweski is an additional 37 minutes of avant-garde free jazz featuring Joseph Jarman on sax, Raymond Lee Cheng on violin, William Parker on bass and Rashid Sinan on drums. With a name like The Loweski, one would think the album would be dominated by its namesake. Alas, he doesn’t make it all about him. In fact, he hands the entire first track over to Jarman, honking and skronking for more than six minutes. From the band’s point of entry on, everything is a full-blown exploration; a racket in search of a context. It turns out the context was there all along, in every musician’s quest to be true to their art form. This was 1973, and not only were musicians limited in how they called the shots for their recordings, but record labels and listening audiences ran for cover when someone like Lowe came calling. ESP Disk provided artist freedom to those on their roster, and that’s what you get with Black Beings and The Loweski.