Frank Lowe

Black Beings

The CD and download versions of Black Beings contain 15 minutes of additional material thought to have been lost. The vinyl edition is the original edit. 


When he started out on ESP-Disk', Frank Lowe was one of those hard-blowing tenor saxophonists we think of when we heard the phrase "free jazz." Born in Memphis, he moved to San Francisco and, while visiting New York, began playing with Alice Coltrane (on whose albumWorld Galaxy he made his recording debut in 1971), Sun Ra, Rashied Ali, and Noah Howard, and eventually moved to the Big Apple.

On his debut as a leader, Lowe was confident enough to share the frontline with the Art Ensemble of Chicago's Joseph Jarman, who sticks to soprano and alto saxes here. This album is also notable as the recording debut of bassist William Parker, who has gone on to become an elder statesman of the genre and a ubiquitous presence on the New York scene. And then there is the mystery of the violinist originally credited only as The Wizard. Speculation long ran rampant, with one eminent jazz critic declaring not only that it was Leroy Jenkins under a pseudonym, but "quite recognizable" as such. Consider that a compliment to Raymond Lee Cheng, whom we now know it to have been; he recorded with Lester Bowie two years later as Raymund Cheng.

That is not the only discovery unveiled on ESP's 2008 reissue of this classic. ESP's Michael Anderson went into the vaults and discovered unreleased music that was edited out to fit the time confines of the LP. "In Trane's Name" is now 33:29 rather than 25:00; the Jarman-penned "Thulani" is 22:09 compared to 15:55. One listen quickly reveals that the glory of this album is thoroughly enhanced by the additional music.


Joseph Jarman: soprano, alto sax
Frank Lowe: tenor sax
The Wizard (Raymond Lee Cheng): violin
William Parker:bass
Rashid Sinan: drums

Track Listing

1.In Trane's Name33:292.Brother Joseph4:463.Thulani22:09

Compositions by Frank Lowe & Joseph Jarman (Syndicore Music BMI).


Recorded March 1973. Engineering by Scott Trusty. Original album design by Carmen Lowe. Original photos by Charles Marinaro. Production Manager: Tom Abbs. Research, restoration & analog to digital transfer by Michael D. Anderson. Digital remastering by Douglas McGregor. Digital imaging by Michael Solomon. Design & layout by Miles Bachman & Michael Sanzone.

Press Quotes

"Black Beings serves as an historical document and stopping-off point in the musical legacy of Lowe, showing a rare side of the musician. " - Jerry D'Souza, All About Jazz

"Essentially just a recording of a live show, Black Beings encapsulates what’s great about improvisation at its very core: harnessing spontaneity in a way that can never be recreated. Aside from stellar, moment-to-moment playing, Black Beings also documents a pivotal time in music. Lowe takes free jazz to its fiercest and rawest states, while remaining deeply invested in the same roots as the previous generation of jazz experimenters. As avant-garde as Black Beings gets, it is indeed pure soul music" - Seth K, Tiny Mix Tapes

Musicians: Joseph Jarman / Frank Lowe / The Wizard (Raymond Lee Cheng) / William Parker / Rashid Sinan

Play the samples

Digital download Choice of WAVs or MP3s
Compact Disk In Digipack with liner notes
Long Playing 180-gram black vinyl LP. Jacket copied from the original issue. THIS IS A PRE-ORDER. LP WILL SHIP IN JULY 2021. This is the original LP edit, and does not include the additional material on the expanded CD/digital version.
  • Product Code: ESP3013
  • Availability: In Stock
  • CD $9.98
  • LP $24.99
  • WAV Download $8.99
  • MP3 Download $8.99

Add to Cart

Related Products

No Joke!

No Joke!

William Parker’s recording career began in 1973 on ESP-Disk’ (Frank Lowe’s Black Beings, ESP3013) ..