JJ 12/70: Henry Lowther Band – Child Song

Fifty years ago, Ron Brown heard Miles Davis in Lowther's music but revised his earlier idea that it rocked to the same extent. First published in Jazz Journal December 1970


This is the same group I enjoyed at the 100 Club recently; I wrote about them in June this year, and at that time stressed their resemblance to the Miles Davis present day bands. Listening again to this material, most of which they performed that night, I must change my opinion a bit.

You can’t really say that Lowther’s band play rock rhythms, for instance, although the influence is certainly there in places. Although Daryl Runswick’s bass guitar isn’t as prominent as it is in live performance, it remains quite staggering, justifying completely Lowther’s stated belief that he’s the best in the country on his instru­ment.

Both sides consist of continuous pieces, the middle one being an ‘adagio’-like section in each case. Lowther’s violin blends beautifully with Robert’s efforts on the first side, but isn’t quite as successful on the other.

His trumpet playing is obviously Davis-influenced, but he does his own thing very effectively within this style. I’m particularly impressed by his play­ing in the lower register, which is very strong and colourful. His playing’s certainly charac­terised by its ‘poised, elegant lyricism’ as Richard Williams remarks in his sleeve-note.

A very pleasant record, by a band which displays taste and feeling.

Introduction; Trav’lling Song; Plaything (Child Song and Anima) (25 min) – 3/4 Skip (Trip-Up); Between; Puppet Song (24 min)
Henry Lowther (tpt/fgl-h/vln/perc); Tony Roberts (ten/bs-clt/perc); Mike McNaught (el-pno/perc); Daryl Runswick (bs/bs-gtr/perc): Mike Travis (dm/perc); Jimmy Jewell (ten) on Plaything/Childsong; Neil Slaven (perc) on Child Song and Anima.
(Deram SML1070 39s 11d)