Charles Lloyd Quartet feat. Bill Frisell
Charles Lloyd was nominated “Jazz Master” by the National Endowment for the Arts, the highest honor that the United States can pay to a jazz musician.
Behind this recognition is a long history that makes Charles Lloyd a legend of world music, not just of jazz.
Before starting his career as a leader, Lloyd had a long apprenticeship in Memphis. Among his most important engagements, there is undoubtedly the one with Chico Hamilton, a Californian drummer who experimented with unusual sounds for that time and looked beyond the western tradition. “Man from two worlds”, from the early 60s, makes good the sense of that music, starting from the title. Lloyd is completely at ease here and also contributes as a composer.
His great success came in the second half of the 60s with “Dream Weaver”, the first studio album of the new quartet with Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, and Cecil McBee. “Forest Flower” and “The Flowering” are live, recorded respectively at the Monterey Festival and in Europe. Especially his live records released extraordinary creative energy. In this period, Lloyd deepened his interest in the sounds of the east (he played world music when this term didn’t even exist), and harmony took place with the rock bands of the West Coast like the Beach Boys, Canned Heart, The Doors, Grateful Dead.
After a long period of reflection (it would be better to say meditation), in the 80s, Lloyd started touring again, also in Europe. He released an album recorded live for Blue Note in Copenhagen to document this. The pianist is Michel Petrucciani. Listening to it, one wonders why a jazz patrimony like Charles Lloyd had been absent from the scenes.
Starting from the late 80s, Manfred Eicher had him record for ECM, and it is challenging to choose the most representative titles in a catalog of such extraordinary quality.
Finally, recently, “Wild Man Dance” marked Lloyd’s return to Blue Note after thirty years. There are three other records for the same label by Charles Lloyd & The Marvels and the New Quartet. The most recent title, which Lloyd brought to Umbria Jazz 19, is “Kindred Spirits”, which is characterized by the presence of two great young guitarists, Julian Lage and Marvin Sewell.
The latest album, “Tone Poem”, shows an inspired artist who is always able to thrill.
This time, a great master of guitar and improvisation plays with him in Perugia, Bill Frisell, with whom Lloyd often collaborates. Creative musicians always manage to find the thread of common discourse.