Title - 'Mirror' (ECM Records)
Artist - Charles Lloyd Quartet
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, some 60 odd years ago, from an early age Charles Lloyd was immersed in that city's rich musical life - exposed to jazz at all corners, from all angles. Thus, he began playing the saxophone at the age of 9 and has never, obviously, looked back.
Now, this review might well come across as somewhat one-sided, but it's not just me being uber positive about this new album. Indeed, if you listen carefully enough to the press in general, many critics have stated that Lloyd's "New Quartet", with Jason Moran, Reuben Rogers and Eric Harland may be the BEST of all his groups!
I mean, looking back, the formative stuff with Chico Hamilton and the initial Columbia albums were superb; the work on Atlantic with Keith Jarrett - while uneven at times - had its wonderful moments; then there was a bit of a lost period at, least musically; then the recordings on Elektra with Petruciaani; and then, finally, came the ECM stuff (some 20+, if memory serves me!)
Simply put, this newest band is incredible; Charles' sound is heavenly; the tunes are consistently beautiful; the synergy of the band exmplary. And, as I'm not one to harp on about singular, personal fav tracks here and there on any album, I will, however, tell you that the final long track, "Tagi", has a vocal religious meditation amid the rising crescendos: to which I found beautifully inspirational, as intended, I'm sure.
The release of 'Mirror' coincides with a five city North American tour; one which continues on into the new year:
Charles Lloyd / Jason Moran / Reuben Rogers / Eric Harland on tour 2011:
January 19 in Hanover, NH at Dartmouth College
January 21 and 22 in Boston, MA at the Regattabar
January 23 in Burlington, VT at the Flynn Center
January 26 in Amherst, MA at U Mass
January 28 in Middletown, CT at Wesleyan Univ.
January 29 in New York, NY at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall
January 30 in Buffalo, NY at the Albright-Knox Gallery