MARCH 15, 2013
Kalamu Ya Salaam
All About Jazz
Cover story by Ashley Khan.
Together working seamless, soulful set Hypnotic… spiritual… wondrous…
In a jazz combo, nothing is more important than the interaction among the musicians, and this is especially true with Lloyd. This is the Charles Lloyd Quartet, not the Charles Lloyd Show.
Charles Lloyd’s name alone might sell tickets as a symbol of integrity and spiritual health… For anyone who listened hard enough to his concert at the Rose Theater on Saturday night, he was indivisible from his band.
Three American late-modernists reasserted themselves as world leaders.
Charles Lloyd's Mirror provided a hard-won summary of his lyrical gifts, fluttering saxophone solos grounded by the expert team of Jason Moran, Reuben Rogers and Eric Harland
INSIDE THIS ISSUE, you’ll find JAZZIZ Magazine’s Annual Critics’ Choices for 2010...
A frequent flyer on the list of many critics this year was Charles Lloyd’s Mirror (on the ECM label) so we took this opportunity to put the seasoned saxist on the cover and a cover story by Don Heckman.
Friday, September 24th, 2010
A deeply meditative and tender new album by the Charles Lloyd Quartet is released just days after this issue hits the streets. Titled Mirror it is an album imbued with a lot of love, containing many of the distilled musical and life experiences of Charles Lloyd, one of the great figures of jazz who since the 1960s, has looked to the sky and within himself to allow his music to connect with people the world over.
Now 72, the musician who tuned in, turned on and dropped out but crucially came back for a new wave of remarkable creativity, talks to Stuart Nicholson about his Memphis days, playing with the Beach Boys in California, the dramatic time when the CLQ came together, and above all rising above the battlefield of life.
Charles Lloyd and his "New Quartet" with Jason Moran, Reuben Rogers, and Eric Harland light up the ethers with transcendent music and commentary from Lloyd. "Mirror" Lloyd's latest recording for ECM will be released in the US on September 14, Germany and Switzerland September 17, UK September 29, France October 10
After weather delays and flights that seemed to never end, we landed in Cape Town, South Africa. A first trip to the African continent... very powerful experience indeed. The view from my rooms looked up on the “Sleeping Lion" mountain and the "Pyramid". Later colonialists renamed it “Table Top Mountain". We learned from our friend, Hotep, South Africa used to be called “Upper Egypt". The country is vast and beautiful and still laden with difficulties. The people were all heart and big ears, enthusiastically accepting us and our music.
Spring concerts take us to San Francisco, Melbourne, Auckland, Jerusalem, and Athens where we will, once again, collaborate with the most wonderful Maria Farantouri. The concert will take place in the ancient theater that sits at the foot of the Acropolis.
Last December we went into my home town studio, Santa Barbara Sound, and laid down some very soulful tracks that will be released on ECM in the fall. We are planning a September release. More news to follow.
A Jazz Love Affair
Charles Lloyd pays homage to Billy Higgins at the SF Jazz Fest Spring Season
by Derk Richardson, special to SF Gate
Jazz can't abide cheap sentimentality, but it thrives on love.
For all its brainy complexity in harmony and rhythm, jazz is a deeply passionate music that does not flinch in the face of romance; it just demands a little bitter with its sweet, a sturdy spine in its tingle.
The music's history abounds with classic love stories -- between Billie Holiday and Lester Young (epitomized in their heartbreakingly wistful interaction on "Fine and Mellow" during the 1957 CBS TV special "The Sound of Jazz"), between Duke Ellington and his orchestra, between John Coltrane and his notion of the creator ("A Love Supreme") and, in our time, between Charles Lloyd and Billy Higgins.
Read more: here
Wednesday, 04 October 2000
Charles Lloyd interview, LA Weekly,
by Greg Burk
"A MAN TELLS HIS PERSONAL TRUTH, WITH SUCH loving passion and honesty and intelligence and fire, and ecclesiastical everything-he's-got, on his knees. And it transforms the mundane, it transforms the molecules."
Charles Lloyd. Improvising.
"There is no time, there is now. When I hear these guys playing in the now, when I hear Yardbird goin' through there with brilliance at the speed of light, and modulating in all kinds of ultrapolations and interpolations and all kinds of semidemiquavers and all kinds of beauty, what is that? It's kind of like the Upanishads or the Bhagavad Gita."
Read more: here
This is a powerful and varied set, with the post bop-into-abstraction of “Prometheus” moving smoothly into the near waltz of “Migration of Spirit” and stretching into the edgy “La Colline de Monk”. Two numbers – “Sweet Georgia Bright” and tender “Rabo de Nube” – have featured on other Lloyd albums. Otherwise this is entirely new material, clearly shaped for the talents of his young players. Lloyd is magisterial whether on tenor on “Prometheus” or mysterious playing tarogato on “Ramanujan”. But it’s his tribute to Memphis childhood fried, trumpeter Booker Little – “Booker’s Garden” with some typical wayward flute – that steals the show.Duncan Heining, Jazzwise
Charles Lloyd is in top form, and this may be his best quartet ever, which is saying quite a lot. Made up of Eric Harland on drums, Reuben Rogers on bass, and Lloyd’s latest discovery, the amazing Jason Moran on piano, the “New Quartet” has the depth, grace, and indefinable allure of a classic group on the order of John Coltrane’s 1960s quartet, or the bands that Miles Davis put together in the 1950s and ’60s.Charles Donelan – The Santa Barbara Independent – June 5, 2008
As his career nears its sixth decade, Lloyd proves to be a musician of unending drive and enthusiasm who seemingly never tires or reaches contentment. His playing on both saxophone and flute are cleaner, more elegant and filled with more surprises than ever before. Listeners’ ears, minds and hearts continue to be graced by Lloyd’s music and its plentiful fill of wonder, joy, ecstasy and tenderness. Happy birthday, Master Lloyd. Here’s to another seventy years!Matt Leskovic, Jazz.com, March 15, 2008
Rabo De Nube captures a phenomenal show by the legendary, seventy-year-old saxophonist/flutist Charles Lloyd, with his new quartet. This recording exudes everything that makes jazz such a vibrant art. The result is music that is exuberant and rather uniquely unpredictable. It combines deep grooves from different parts of the world and grabs a hold of the listener, with thoughtful and intelligent music that immerses his or her body in sheer ecstasy. Lloyd, at seventy, is still making music at a very high level, while breaking new ground with musicians half his age. Rabo De Nube is a magnificent testament to this amazing artist.Budd Kopman, Allaboutjazz.com, March 17, 2008
The rediscovery of Charles Lloyd is one of the best things to happen to jazz in more than a decade. He is humble and peaceful, yet he experiments without fear. Once again successful and appreciated by the jazz world, he outshines some of the most noted players on today’s scene. His music is a balm to ears grown weary of jazz that is derivative, exclusionary or a passing fad.Roberta Penn, Seattle Post Intelligencer, March 28, 2008
On Rabo De Nube, the shamanistic elder statesman is surrounded by a formidable lineup of gifted youngbloods. The results are scintillating. The live recording has a sparkling clarity that captures all the nuances of Lloyd’s new working quartet in performance.Bill Milkowski, The Absolute Sound, April/May 2008
All of his 12 ECM recordings are special, but this live performance from last year in Basel, Switzerland – his first live quartet disc for ECM – is truly exceptional. That’s because this is a contemporary jazz quartet to die for. From note to note and tune to tune, Charles Lloyd seems free to go wherever he wants in total confidence and these extraordinary musicians will go with him, without being driven by barely comprehensible compulsion or being imprisoned in the celestial beauty of his own saxophone sound.
A remarkable disc by a remarkable quartet.
" Charles Lloyd’s approach to performance is quite different. The more Lloyd goes inside himself the more he draws his audience in. With Jason Moran on piano, Eric Harland on drums, and Reuben Rogers on bass, Lloyd once again has a group able to follow his excursions into the music and into the mystic. Lloyd is one of the greats, rather like Joan Miro in modern art, he has no peer save himself. Music of total transport and delight." (Cheltenham Jazz Festival May 2007 )Duncan Heining, Jazzwise, July 2007
We had (and still have) the pleasure to hear and see fantastic concerts in Basel, even experience Charles Lloyd’s ' concert of the century' (Basel)."Jazzn’more, Switzerland, June 2007
“Luminous in its overtones, naked in its exposed humanity. Lloyd’s series of breakthroughs to catharsis are like a spirit soaring into the blinding light of freedom. Charles Lloyd’s musicality, generosity, and intuitive gifts as a communicator have enabled him to fill a special role in jazz; to make extremities of creative liberation accessible. And he is still at it. He plays with more strength and passion today than he did when he was 26.”Tom Conrad, Stereophile, August 2006
“He ( Charles Lloyd ) may be approaching seventy, but in many ways he’s playing the most vital music of his career. .. If anything his playing has intensified. “ ( Portland Jazz Festival 2007)John Kelman, All About Jazz, February 26, 2007
Monterey Jazz Festival 2006 : “Lloyd’s fluttery sound, full of foggy swoops and dodges is one of the greatest things in jazz; you want to bottle it and keep it forever. Lloyd, now 68, one of jazz’s true characters, and a poet. He’s better than ever.”Richard Scheinin, Mercury News, September 19, 2006
“Powerfully coherent.”Ben Ratliff, The New York Times, April 10, 2006
“I’ve known Charles for 40 years, at least – and for me, he has contributed as much as any other person living in the world to the development of the art form of the saxophone – and Charles plays the saxophone, like nobody else can even come close. So, I admire and respect him, a great artist. Thank God we are still here together.”Elvin Jones, San Sebastian, Spain, 2002
“Charles Lloyd is an international treasure.”Carlos Santana, August 2002
“Lloyd has that particular thing, blues and that swing, that lyricism and that intellect… an original fusion of the super swing of Bird, Lester, Sonny and Coltrane. Charles Lloyd is one of the very best saxophonists of our moment.”Stanley Crouch
Mr. Lloyd is a virtuoso, but unlike most virtuosos, he never let it show; keeping everything he played dignified. In his mixture of Blues phrases, classical exercise quotations, howls and screams and gentle melodic sensibility; Mr. Lloyd has come up with a strange and beautiful distillation of the American experience, part abandoned and wild, part immensely controlled and sophisticated.Peter Watrous, The New York Times, June 1992
“Magnifique, Charles Lloyd! A sublime evening last Tuesday at the Theatre Municipal. The Master of Jazz did not let us down. With his two musicians, he gave us a dazzling presentation, and wrote one of the most beautiful pages in the history of Jazz in Nevers..”Anthony Villeneuve, Le Journal du Centre, November 16, 2006
“ The presence of the Maestro from Memphis, was one of the most important moments of the festival. Greatly applauded, spiritual, lyrical and refined, with strong ethnic suggestions.”Carlo Argiolas, L’Unione Sarda, November 20, 2006
“Charles Lloyd has surpassed conventional boundaries and expected means of musical expression. In short, Lloyd is able to diagnose our ills and provide the necessary auditory salve for our Being.”Erik Quick, All About Jazz. November 22, 2006
“The saxophonist is at the top of his game these days.”The Village Voice, June 7, 2006
“This music has scale and grandeur… beautiful, haunting.”Duncan Henning, Jazzwise (UK), May 2006
“Breathtaking interplay. Incisive, playful, joyous.”Daniel Spicer, Pop Matters (UK), May 2006
“An artist of refined poetry, Charles Lloyd remains today, one of the most original and authoritative musicians with a most distinguished, timeless song.”La Stampa, June 12, 2006
“A magic formula for an intense musical encounter.”Eliane Azoulay, Telerama Paris, July 2006
“Maestro of Maestros, Charles Lloyd elevated the second concert in the series of the Oviedo Jazz Festival – his music in the vanguard that crosses ethnic rhythms with those that should wake up the world. It was an experience full of spirituality and ovations as well.”Alberto Piquero, ABC (Spain) July, 2006
“Sangam mesmerized its audience at the Library of Congress with a performance that won’t soon be forgotten.”Gail Wein, Washington Post November 10, 2006
Charles Lloyd, like the phoenix, comes out of the ashes renewed. His music is a subtle and fragile balance between tradition and creation, between air and fire, between the caress of breath and a continuing cry. He has decanted his art to keep only the quintessence.”DNA, France September, 2004
Charles Lloyd was the highlight of the Berlin Jazz Festival… Lloyd, tabla master Zakir Hussain and stunning young drummer, Eric Harland – shimmied with palpable synchronicity and flashes of mystical beauty.Joe Woodard, The Santa Barbara Independent, November 2004
Charles Lloyd delivers crystal clear ideas and passion measured out to suit the needs at hand. The depth of his imagination can be heard on the recent string of discs for ECMThe Village Voice, January 2003
Spellbinding. Considered the father of the World Music movement, Charles Lloyd has never stopped experimenting. Many saxophonists have acknowledged the spiritual nature of the late John Coltrane’s musical quest, few touch the deep source of inquiry into the nature of self, suffering and transcendence as Charles Lloyd did during his moving performance at the 20th Annual San Francisco Jazz festival.The San Francisco Chronicle, November 2002
Charles Lloyd has raised his performances to a strikingly high level of achievement... His slower playing was ravishingly romantic.Los Angeles Times, January 2002
A tenor giant who seems to be continually reinventing himself. Lloyd’s metric acuity has soared to the degree that he has few, if any, rhythmic equals on his instrument.New Times Los Angeles, January 2002
Lloyd has developed a one of a kind sound rich with mystical cool... playing with a laidback wisdom that speaks of a man at peace with himself and his path.SF Weekly, January 2002
Charles Lloyd occupies a rarefied place in the jazz world these days. His endeavor to create a musical space of refinement, beauty, and intelligence , provides a soothing balm in these troubled times. Lloyd continues his journey of discovery in making music that’s sublime, often soulful, and sometimes transcendent.The Austin Chronicle, November 2001
Lloyd himself is a marvel. On many of the tracks he creates that most magical of musical moments: He makes you forget how the resplendent sound he is making came to be. At 63 he is ready to take his place with the masters.The Washington Post, October 2001
His return to town this week has been the most anticipated jazz event of the season...Lloyd shows that maturity has its rewards.Chicago Tribune, September 2001
Charles Lloyd is leaner, cleaner, more aesthetically focused and creatively attuned than ever - his music manages the rare trick of being adventurous and accessible, joyful and still, spiritual and deeply human at the same time.Montreal Gazette, June 2001
His live performances in the past few years have been extraordinary. After a decade of neoclassic retrofitting, Charles Lloyd is a rare original.Los Angeles Times, January 2001
CHARLES LLOYD RISES ABOVE JAZZ FESTIVAL’S FORMULA
The most disarming music came from tenor saxophonist Charles Lloyd, whose unique gauzy tone and long soaring lyric phrases gave Saturday night’s installment of the festival its most spiritual moments. Exactly how Lloyd and his quartet achieved in Grant Park the barely whispered pianissimos and transparent ensemble textures that are their signatures is difficult to explain.
Charles Lloyd invents pearls in the night. In a concert of 2 1/2 hours, it was a rare moment that joins the list of unforgettable concerts in the anthology of the Marciac Festival equal to the concerts of Stan Getz and Sonny Rollins.Le Monde, August 2000
If Lester Young had idolized John Coltrane, he might have ended up with a sound like Mr. Lloyd’s. His set at last year’s Texaco Festival was one of its highlights, as sweet, delicate and ravishing as a Bonnard still life.The New York Times, June 1998
Lloyd hadn’t performed in the UK for years... and played one of the most touching profound music imaginable to a packed but silent Royal Festival hall. He’s the Master, we want him back soon.TimeOut / London, December 1997