The Charles Lloyd New Quartet

December 6th, 2009

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The Charles Lloyd New Quartet with Jason Moran, Reuben Rogers, & Eric Harland played tonight at Town Hall. It is a beautiful new group Charles Lloyd has brought to town this time. So different from the last few times he has played here yet remarkably similar to the time he played with drummer Billy Higgins back in the late 1990’s. He mentioned him in his wonderful rambling opening remarks. I will post some more photos from this performance in the coming week. Come on back.

“Since the 1960s, tenor saxophonist and flautist Charles Lloyd’s life has alternated between periods of musical and personal exploration. After spending a decade or so working as a sideman in different blues and jazz groups, Lloyd hit a goldmine of critical acclaim and popular support in with his quartet’s groundbreaking performance at the 1966 Monterey Jazz Festival (no small feat in a period when jazz’s audiences were largely moving in new directions). This particular group was notable not just for Lloyd’s debut as a fresh and exciting leader, but also because two of its members, Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette, were themselves only a few years away from exploding as widely innovative and influential jazz musicians….

Lloyd’s New Quartet is fortified with relatively young but well-established jazz musicians who are fully capable of sharing Lloyd’s pursuits. A leader in his own right, Jason Moran (piano) brings the group a unique, mature second lead voice. He’s one of those pianists who sometimes convince you that you’re listening to 80 years of jazz piano history rolled into one set of fingers. His heavy left hand will dabble in vintage 1920s stride playing right before flowing through a sequence that breaks into advanced Andrew Hill territory, while his frank, direct solos often develop in unpredictable turns that take full advantage his repertoire’s diverse influences.

On stage, when Lloyd himself isn’t soloing, he doesn’t just stand there; he frequently can’t resist dancing to the pulsing, breathing rhythms provided by his fellow musicians. Reuben Rogers (bass) and Eric Harland (drums/percussion) form a reliable, gregarious backbone that’s perfect for bringing the exotic structures in Lloyd’s compositions to life. Whether the tune is funky, swinging, Latin, or has no definable rhythm at all, the team decorates it with outbursts that always feel natural and appropriate….”

Nathan Bluford from the Earshot Jazz program guide.

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