To celebrate his 70th birthday, (March 15th) Charles Lloyd presents his first live quartet album; a really exciting set of music recorded in Basel in 2007 featuring a revamped Quartet now with young stars Jason Moran on piano and Reuben Rogers on bass both making ECM debuts here. The latest offering is blisteringly up-tempo and sensually ballad-oriented and include also a beautiful cover of Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez s tune.
"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." -- Duncan Heining, Jazzwise July 2007
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"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
"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
It's fitting that the shimmeringly beautiful Rabo De Nube, which is being released to celebrate reed player Charles Lloyd's 70th birthday on March 15, 2008, is a live album. Lloyd became a star forty years ago with a series of paradigm-shifting live discs recorded on a seemingly never-ending tour of the USA and Europe--seven of them altogether, starting with Forest Flower (Atlantic, 1966) and ending with Soundtrack (Atlantic, 1968). Intentionally or not, Rabo De Nube, recorded in Switzerland in 2007, and seeped in the same spirit as those momentous earlier performances, goes some way towards completing the circle. Like its predecessors in the outstanding, second-wind run of discs he's recorded for ECM since 1989, Rabo De Nube finds Lloyd's aesthetic essentially unchanged. A pan-ethnic, mantra-like vibe remains centrestage in his playing, and bells and incense still hang in the air around it. The mesmerising, dervish intensity of "Ramanujan," with Lloyd on his preferred alternative to the soprano saxophone, the reedy Persian-derived tarogato, would have fit perfectly on any of the early Atlantic albums. What has changed is the emotional depth of Lloyd's music. The albums of the late 1960s were in the main sunny and bright, as befitted the optimism of those years. On ECM, Lloyd has, in addition, explored darker terrains. On Rabo De Nube, the gorgeous lyricism of "Migration Of Spirit" and "Sweet Georgia Bright," a longtime live favorite, is balanced by the edgy astringency of "Prometheus"--a refashioning of "The Crossing" from Lift Every Voice (ECM, 2002)--and the elegaic "Booker's Garden," composed in memory of Lloyd's childhood friend, the trumpeter Booker Little (1938-61). Lloyd's 1960s quartet, which also made a star of the pianist Keith Jarrett, was pure heaven. The new quartet, with Jason Moran replacing Geri Allen, pianist on the last quartet album, Jumping The Creek (ECM, 2005), gets close enough to kiss it. Moran is an inspired inclusion. His percussive, chordal comping is a perfect foil for Lloyd's supple, diaphonous lines, and his exuberant solo flights recall the youthful Jarrett of Atlantic-era stormers like "Sombrero Sam." An awesome performance from an elder statesman who has kept the faith--and shows no sign of slowing up. Long may he continue to delight and uplift us. -- All About Jazz: Chris May, March 2008
Poet Charles Simic's verse for the liners of "Rabo de Nube," Charles Lloyd's latest CD released the week of his 70th birthday, reads, "I hear someone whispering/'Without this music/ Life would be a mistake.' " In essence, this sums up Lloyd's reflective jazz, presented here live from Switzerland in tandem with pianist Jason Moran, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland. Lloyd's music is at once lyrical and vibrant, meditative and enthralling. His tenor sax combusts on the tumultuous "Prometheus"; his alto flute floats tenderly in his Booker Little homage, "Booker's Garden"; and his taragato (a Hungarian folk clarinet) sets "Ramanujan" into dance motion. After the band romps through "Sweet Georgia Bright," a Lloyd oldie from his 1964 recording debut, it eases into a sublime balladic rendition of the Silvio Rodriguez title track. -- Dan Ouellette, Billboard