Ralph Bowen

Due Reverence

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A veteran of many different bands since the mid-'80s, having worked with Benny Carter, Horace Silver, Orrin Evans, Ralph Peterson, and as a member of Out of the Blue, tenor saxophonist Ralph Bowen had little chance to record as a leader until the start of the 21st century. But he seems to be catching up for lost time, and finally recording for a domestic label, Posi-Tone. His second release for the label features five rewarding originals, with help from guitarist Adam Rogers, bassist John Pattitucci, and drummer Antonio Sanchez. Each piece is dedicated to a musician, starting with "Less Is More," saluting the late guitarist Ted Dunbar (who recorded little as a leader). Bowen's lush tenor floats over Rogers' spacious guitar, with a bit of a Latin undercurrent. Bandleader and fellow tenorist Bob Mintzer is honored with the explosive "This One's for Bob," in which Bowen's furious tenor never loses focus. "Philos-Ophy" is dedicated to Canadian clarinetist/composer Phil Nimmons (an artist who has been on the scene for decades but is little known outside his homeland), this intricate bop theme will provoke foot-tapping. Trumpeter Sean Jones is added for the somewhat funky "Mr. Scott," providing a perfect foil for the leader. This enjoyable outing gets better with every hearing.

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