Allen Lowe Octet Featuring Marc Ribot: Blues and the Empirical Truth

Sunday, January 5, 2020. 8:00 pm

Saxophonist Allen Lowe premieres his new and original work with guitarist Marc Ribot. A recognized and praised music scholar, writing numerous historical books about the evolving musical world, Lowe’s research urges readers to reexamine what they know about jazz, the blues, and pop music. Blues and Empirical Truth aims to do the same thing. With its foundation rooted in Lowe’s historical and instrumental work composed in the last 25 years, this performance examines the deep blue American songs forms through a century of American improvisational music from New Orleans to Free Jazz. Drawing from his expertise in early American and African American song forms, Lowe expands on the canonical gospel, jazz, and blues theoretical formats through the lens of improvisations, based on both chord and open forms.


Ray Suhy – guitar and banjo
Lewis Porter – piano
Brian Simontacchi – trombone
Jennifer Vincent – bass
Kevin Ray – bass
Rob Landis – drums


Allen Lowe (Alto and Tenor Sax) began playing the saxophone at 15 years old. After he stopped performing, Lowe became undeniably invested in what was known in the 1980’s as “new music”, and began composing, performing, and recording in this new, investigative style. In 1996, Lowe moved to Maine where he taught himself the technique of sound restoration and wrote four books; American Pop from Minstrel to Mojo, That Devilin’  Tune: A Jazz History 1900-1950, God Didn’t Like It: Electric Hillbillies, Singing Preachers, and the Beginning of Rock and Roll, 1950-1970 (unpublished), The Lost Generation: Jazz of the 1950s (unpublished), and most recently Really the Blues? A Blues History, 1893-1959. His last two projects (That Devilin’ Tune and Really the Blues?) remain as the two largest independent projects ever done on the history of American Music. Lowe has recorded as leader with Julius Hemphill, Roswell Rudd, David Murray, Doc Cheatham, Kalaparusha, Don Byron, JD Allen, Ken Peplowski, Lewis Porter, and Hamiet Bluiett. In 2019, ESP DISK released an 8-record set of Lowe’s collected works going back to 1980 called: Disconnected Works, 1980–2018.

Marc Ribot (Guitar) has released 25 albums under his own name over the span of a 40-year career. His solo release, Silent Movies, has landed on several “Best of 2010” lists, including the LA Times. In 2018, Ribot released two politically charged albums: YRU Still Here? and Songs of Resistance 1942-2018 that, again, brought his name to the charts, landing on various “Best of 2018” lists, including NPR’s All Songs Considered. He has been described by the New York Times as “a deceptively articulate artist who uses inarticulateness as an expressive device,” while Rolling Stone points out that “Guitarist Marc Ribot helped Tom Waits refine a new, weird Americana on 1985’s Rain Dogs, and since then he’s become the go-to guitar guy for all kinds of roots-music adventurers: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Elvis Costello, John Mellencamp.”