Phillip Wilson

Live at Moers Festival

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The musicians in this group also played together under Frank Lowe's name, although rambunctious tenor saxophonist Lowe was more likely to have had the thoughtful Butch Morris on trumpet rather than Olu Dara, who along with Lowe and bassist Fred Williams was part of the group presented at the 1978 Moers International Jazz Festival under the leadership of veteran drummer Phillip Wilson. These players were all on the New York scene of the '70s, playing in a variety of contexts together, both formal and informal, so there is nothing forced about the lineup. The only thing missing might have been some kind of direction from the leader; Wilson was a figure of enough stature to be offered gigs as a leader, but was extremely unlikely to have prepared in any way for the task at hand. Despite liner note credits to the contrary, at least two of the tunes the quartet uses to bracket its instrumental excursions were composed by Lowe, not the group leader. This includes "Broadway Rhumba," a dynamic opener and a showcase for the soul-drenched Lowe soloing style. Wilson, who could be as inattentive as he could be sensitive, must have been charged up by the high-profile festival appearance, and plays with plenty of energy throughout. Dara may sometimes seem as if he is not able to focus during his solos, but plays with impressive spirit on the lengthy concluding "It's a Party." On the whole, this album provides fairly accurate documentation of some aspects of the '70s New York free jazz scene, although Lowe himself appears on much more exciting recordings.

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