Allen Lowe is not interested in payback, but he sort of feels like he got the last laugh.

Lowe, a jazz musician with a national reputation, has lived in the Portland area for 15 years but can count on two hands the number of concerts he has played in Maine.

It’s not that he’s not interested in performing for local crowds. He just can’t seem to get people’s attention.

“I think Portland has been inhospitable to the kind of music I play,” he says. “The arts infrastructure I have dealt with strikes me as bizarrely negative. It seems that no one has any desire for me to do anything.”

Lowe attributes his lack of connections to his age. He is 58, and simply has no time to hang out in the clubs to meet the people who book the shows. He has a day job and a family to support, and little time to deal with club owners or booking agents.

Whether he’s right or wrong in his opinion of the local music scene, Lowe has certainly added to his credibility in recent months.

Lowe, of South Portland, is the Maine Arts Commission’s 2012 Media and Performing Arts Fellow. The award comes with a $13,000 stipend, which he is using to help pay his daughter’s college tuition.

He is a composer, musician, author and music historian, and plays saxophone and guitar. He has recorded with major figures in jazz, including Doc Cheatham, Roswell Rudd and Loren Schoenberg, and produced a series of projects that explore American popular song, jazz and blues.

Lowe’s most recent CD is “Blues and the Empirical Truth,” which landed on many year-end Top 10 lists in 2011.

As much as he might like to develop a local audience, Lowe is content to continue building his reputation nationally.

“As I get older, I become less and less concerned about people’s perceptions,” he said. “My CD made more top 10 lists in major media, and that’s what matters most to me now.”

Lowe will perform briefly on Friday at the Maine Arts Commission meeting at Bates College at Lewiston. He will perform with bassist Kris Day, who is best known for his work with the bluegrass band Jerks of Grass.

This summer, Lowe will record a follow-up CD to “Blues and the Empirical Truth.”

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes


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