Even for the Northcountry, November of 1995 got off to a particularly snowy beginning with some areas having over two feet of snow on the ground by November 18. Frank, Charles, and Tim left New York City at 7:30 a.m. for the 340 mile drive to the Spirit Room Studio. And while the weather forecasts were reasonably benign, weather in northern New York can change with the speed and devastation of a flash flood. So I was greatly relieved when, at 2:30 p.m. under snowy skies, Charles' mammoth vintage Cadillac pulled into the Cadence Building driveway. My apprehension fell completely away when, despite having to drive in less than ideal conditions (and in the company of a full drum set, sax, and bass), these three individuals emerged from the car in remarkably good spirits. After setting up, sound checks, and food, the session started at 7 p.m. and, considering the relatively inspired level of playing during the sound check and warm-up, I expected great things.
The group opened with Impressions with less than impressive results. After seven takes, including three complete takes, it was obvious to me memorable music was not happening. Two takes of Art Deco followed and hints of light. After four takes of The Blessing and seven takes of Soul of Fortune things were happening. At this point Tim changed his bass strings and began to relax on this, his debut recording session. By 9 p.m. things were hitting. The majority of this date comes from the after-9 p.m. period which produced a total of ten tunes, each done in two takes or less, including single take revisits of Art Deco and Impressions and ending in the early hours of November 19 with a solo outing by Frank on Body&Soul.
The program here follows in the order it was played with the exception of the opening track, Impressions, which actually preceded Art Deco during the session. I have included both takes of Don One because not only are they substantial but they also are very different. Take 2 is almost a deconstruction of the composition and gives a rewarding insight into the anatomy of a session, the magical evolution of this music, and the creative professionalism of the participants.
Frank Lowe has a fondness for interesting if obscure compositions out of the Jazz heritage (he would no doubt make a valuable A&R man). And he also has the ability to compose little gems. I have a fondness for interesting artistic construction creatively expressed. This material satisfies us both and it's my joy to share it with you. The only thing I can't share with you is the pleasure of watching Frank's unbridled enthusiasm for the Art and the sensitive and respectful way he related to both a veteran improviser and the new kid in making the music happen.
Robert D. Rusch