Jazz Saxophone Titan
One of the giants of jazz saxophone, Charles Lloyd’s appearances have been rare and special since the late 1960s. Lloyd’s commanding presence and mercurial ideas have changed the face of jazz, and his influence and experimental nature are still growing.
“I know the winds of grace are always blowing. I must raise my sails high enough to catch the breeze.” – Charles Lloyd
Those “sails” rise from Lloyd’s horn until they fill and are filled by the air, at times becoming a gale force that sweeps all within hearing into a swirling, rapturous ride. The intensity of Lloyd’s music doesn’t derive from volume or speed, but from spiritual depth and passion.
Lloyd made his recording debut in 1961 as a member of the Chico Hamilton Quintet, and gained a strong reputation for his lighter-toned tenor playing, as well as his unique flute phrasing. He played briefly with the Cannonball Adderley Sextet before forming his own quartet in 1965. This group, featuring Keith Jarrett on piano, Cecil McBee on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums, quickly became a favorite of the West Coast scene and toured internationally for three years. Lloyd’s searching solos, influenced by sitar players and Indian druhpad singers as well as being melodic and blues-based, led to inevitable John Coltrane comparisons. Upon this group’s split in 1968, Lloyd went into semi-retirement, focusing on meditation and living in California.
Pianist Michel Petrucciani coaxed Lloyd out of retirement in 1982, and his style and sound seemed unchanged from his 60s recordings. This led to a renaissance in Lloyd’s career, and a number of new musical relationships to explore: Lloyd spent several years collaborating with pianist Bobo Stenson, and captured legendary drummer Billy Higgins’ last years wonderfully on two recordings (The Water is Wide and Hyperion with Higgins). His 2004 Higgins tribute tour, featuring Indian tabla legend Zakir Hussein and drummer Eric Harland was met with high praise wherever they appeared.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“Charles Lloyd is an international treasure” -Carlos Santana
“follow the career of Charles Lloyd, … and you’ll see a grand history of jazz spanning half a century” -Ben Ratliff, New York Times
“Mr. Lloyd has come up with a strange and beautiful distillation of the American experience, part abandoned and wild, part immensely controlled and sophisticated.” – New York Times
“A magic formula for an intense musical encounter.” -Telerama Paris
“A commanding presence, Charles Lloyd has matured to emerge as a messenger of the music. Paralleling Trane [John Coltrane], the company Lloyd has kept (i.e. Billy Higgins) ultimately validates his spirituality.”
– Fred Jung, AllAboutJazz.com