Bolero of the LOWRIDER BAND
"Once Upon a Time in The West," there was a septet out of South Central Los Angeles that was not afraid to inhale - to soak up the vibrations and the multi-cultural make-up of its surrounding community. Like a mirror held up to the light, they refracted the sensual and joyful lopes of the Latin diaspora, the earthy blues of the Black Experience, the rootsy fruit of the Afro-Cuban contingent and (via their Danish soul mate on harmonica) the enchanting melodies of a not-so-distant promised land.
Bound by brotherhood and sense of purpose, these men hand-crafted a conscience-scalding musical melting pot, churning out worldwide '70s million-sellers such as "Low Rider", "The World is a Ghetto," "Slippin' into Darkness," "The Cisco Kid" and the anthem "Why Can't We Be Friends." Their albums were jazz-soaked travelogue soundtracks that reacquainted listeners with the four cornered rooms of their minds, teasing their imaginations with tales of outlaws and senoritas from the River Niger to Far Out places in space.
Their songs sprang from communal jams in which seeds and stems were sown into soul symphonies. And each member contributed his singular element to its essence: the crack cadences of Harold Brown's trap drums, the winding bass lines of B.B. Dickerson, the taproot sting of Howard Scott's wicked guitar, the soaring solos and peppery tandem lines of Charles Miller's saxophones and flutes and Lee Oskar's tangy harmonica, the ancient mystic rumblings of Papa Dee Allen's congas and timbales, and the rhapsodic tapestry of Lonnie Jordan's keyboards.
Ruthlessly, time has taken its toll on this musical Magnificent Seven. Miller and Allen transitioned to the next life. Meanwhile, Jordan tours with an army of recruits under "the name" that is recognized the world over. However, it is the remaining quartet of The Lowrider Band- Scott, Oskar, Brown and Dickerson - which harnesses the true essence that the band has long represented - the unity, the harmony and the righteous fury that was at such ironic odds with "the (3-letter) name" they were saddled with for so long.
Reborn as "The Lowrider Band" (with new members Lance Ellis on sax, Keith Vinet on keyboards and Chuk Barber on percussion), the funkiest jam band in the galaxy is riding back into town in a drop top Caddy and on a mission: to stake their rightful claim as the indisputable authorities of authentic All Day Music.
So go ahead: "Make their day!" Flash three fingers and a smile... and exhale. The Lowrider Band have made it back home to "get way down funky and boogie a while...jus' a lil' bit!"
- A. Scott Galloway