As a jazz critic or advocate as I prefer to refer to myself as perhaps the most frustrating part of the job is panning for sonic gold. Recently at the JEN Convention in Louisville I discussed the question of players looking to be stars first and musicians second. Players that have an immense wealth of academic knowledge but somehow are missing the soul or passion to push not just their sound but jazz as a whole to the next level. From the liner notes of this release:
Always And In Everything
Let There Be Reverence...
For me this speaks to the spirituality of the jazz idiom and the ability to touch someone be it on a personal level or through a pre-packaged product. I firmly believe no other genre of music possesses the same effect on a human being as does jazz.
Ralph Bowen is not a guy that you need to worry about. On Bowen's second release for Posi-Tone he surrounds himself with an all star line up of Sean Jones on trumpet, Adam Rogers on guitar, John Patitucii on bass and finally Antonio Sanchez on drums and they do indeed raise a ruckus! Bowen continues the theme from his first Posi-Tone release Dedicated. "Less Is More" while maintaining a strong lyrical base finds Bowen taking on a more intense modal quality as that of a John Coltrane or Sonny Rollins. "This One's For Bob" ( for Bob Mintzer ) has Bowen taking lyrical development while working without a harmonic net to an entirely new level. Patitucci and Sanchez's create a dramatic underpinning of texture within this tune and this may be the first tune that Bowen really stretches his talent to the next level. "Philosophy" has Sanchez going literally head to head with the other soloists and is swing and its very highest level.
Paying dues. Which player paved the way for more musicians and giving credit where credit is due will always be argued among the jazz aficionado. What will never be argued successfully is the love and appreciation of the music and the contribution that stellar talent like Ralph Bowen make to the scene.
Track Listing: Less Is More; This One's For Bob; Phil-osophy; Mr. Scott; Points Encountered.
Personnel: Ralph Bowen: tenor saxophone; Adam Rogers: guitar; John Patitucci: bass; Antonio Sanchez: drums; Sean Jones: trumpet (4).