Charles Lloyd‘s first album for the iconic Blue Note label in 30 years with the April 14th arrival of Wild Man Dance, a magnificent live recording of a remarkable long-form suite commissioned by the Jazztopad Festival in Wroclaw, Poland.
Charles Lloyd—Wild Man Dance Suite Metropolitan Museum of Art – April 8, 2014
It is the true gem of Surf’s Up. I love this song, it contains a captivating mantra.
I respect that Charles Lloyd played a pivotal role performing on this recording. His spiritual connection with The Beach Boys formed a living, breathing ethos that raises the soul.
During the 1970s Lloyd played extensively with The Beach Boys as they all lived in Big Sur in those days. Charles Lloyd toured and recorded with the Beach Boys, eventually founding the band Celebration with Mike Love and Al Jardine, both Transcendental Meditation followers.
Explaining the spiritual nature of his songs, Carl Wilson said, “We believe in God as universal consciousness. God is love, God is you, God is me, God is everything here in this room.”
We attended 32 live performances in 2011. We love our role as patrons of the arts. 2011 proved to be a dynamic year for music. It’s a challenge to pinpoint only the Top 5 concerts from this extensive and varied list.
The one persistent theme that drives my rationale centers upon artists I have long waited to see live. I finally got to see Charles Lloyd, The Radiators, Joe Sample, Anthony Braxton, Paul Simon, Todd Rundgren, Johnny Rivers, Burton Cummings, Lucinda Williams, TOP & AWB, and Chris Botti. These artists represent a third of the music performances we witnessed.
1. Bowsers Doo Wop Gig 1/16
2. Charles Lloyd Quartet 1/28
3. Taj Mahal, Los Lobos 2/19
4. Patti Smith 2/16
5. The Radiators 2/26
6. Joe Sample 4/5
7. Bob Seger 4/16
8. Roger McGuinn, 4/23
9. Crosby & Nash 5/22
10. King For A Day 2/23
11. Anthony Braxton Septet 5/20
12. Paul Simon 5/29
13. 7 Walkers 8/12
14. Garland Jeffreys 6/5
15. Todd Rundgren 6/26
16. Happy Together Tour 7/9
Turtles, The Association, Mark Lindsay, The Buckinghams
17. Manzarek-Rogers Band 5/25
18. Johnny Rivers 6/18
19. Jimmy Webb 7/28
20. Renaissance 9/16
21. Paul McCartney 7/16
22. Nighthawks Infinity Stars Party 8/20
23. Patti Smith 12/2
24. Burton Cummings 7/2
25. Gary Puckett 8/11
26. Jon Anderson & Rick Wakeman 11/2
27. Janis Ian 8/27
28. Lucinda Williams 11/1
29. Tedeschi Trucks Band 10/29
30. Stephen Stills 10/21
31. Tower of Power, Average White Band 11/17
32. Chris Botti 12/28
Top 5 Concerts of 2011
1. January 28, 2011, The Charles Lloyd New Quartet, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Ct.
I have been a fan of Charles Lloyd for 40+ years. I savor the opportunity to have heard Charles Lloyd, one of jazz’s living legends, play in such an intimate, acoustic setting. The blog post I wrote about Charles Lloyd earned me a free pair of tickets to any Wesleyan concert we wished to attend in the future. That was a very nice complement from Wesleyan, a renowned world music university I value and respect. Here is that concert review.
2. May 11, 2011, Crosby-Nash – The Palace Theater, Stamford, Ct.
The Palace is one of our favorite venues. The David Crosby and Graham Nash concert was broadcast live on HDnet that evening. The added value of a live broadcast with two famous singer/songwriters created a focused, magical experience. The concert is available on DVD and we have watched it over the holidays.
3. June 18, 2011, Johnny Rivers, Mohegan Sun Wolf Den, Uncasville, Ct.
Mohegan Sun went all out this year. They celebrated in high style their 15th anniversary as an entertainment complex. The Wolf Den calendar offered a lot of quality choices for free to patrons willing to wait online to attend the shows. My brother-in-law’s favorite artist is Johnny Rivers. We were excited to get him inside to see Johnny Rivers live.
Johnny Rivers was in excellent voice and proved to be a proficient guitarist. I was blown away by his showmanship and the number of hits he has made famous. Here is the set list from the concert.
4. July 2, 2011, Burton Cummings, Mohegan Sun Wolf Den, Uncasville, Ct.
I have been a fan forever of Burton Cummings, of The Guess Who. To me he has one of the best soulful voices in all of rock and roll. He and his band were kick ass great. He is a true legend and it was wonderful to see him at long last. Here is my blog post concert review of that evening.
5. July 16, 2011, Paul McCartney, Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
What can I say, its Paul McCartney live at Yankee Stadium. Here’s what I wrote about that amazing summer evening.
I have read a perceptive article about Charles Lloyd, “The Fires Are Still Burning”. The JazzTimes story is authored by my favorite jazz music journalist, Ashley Kahn. (Webzine edition can be found here.)
Ashley Kahn is the author of several pivotal jazz books in my collection. I have come to depend upon him to unlock the inner secrets of jazz legends and he has never failed my expectations. His article expands the depth and vision of Charles Lloyd spiritual saxophonist/band leader.
I saw the Charles Lloyd Quartet at the beginning of this year in concert at Wesleyan University. I wrote about that stellar experience in this blog post. Wesleyan University was so taken with my concert review I was awarded two free tickets to a concert of my choice, anytime in the future.
The year got busy on me and I lost sight of Charles Lloyd’s musical output. ECM released Athens Concert on September 13, 2011 and I meant to get a copy at that time. The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.
Fortunately life provides second chances and as luck would have it I found the JazzTimes article so I ordered a copy of Athens Concert. It’s due to arrive today by parcel post from Amazon. I am eager to delve into this double-disc package recorded live at the outdoor Herodion amphitheater at the base of the Acropolis. Every bone in my body tells me this is a monumental work consisting of 18 well articulated, melodic songs.
I’ve never been to Greece nor have I sat in an outdoor stone amphitheater to listen to jazz under the stars. Athens Concert affords me the rare opportunity to carry out both without leaving the comfort of my listening chair.
I can’t wait to report back to you what I have discovered about Athens Concert. (Reserves this space to share with you what I will learn and absorb shortly…)
Eric Du’sean Harland is the most captivating, innovative drummer I have seen perform live. I am still reeling from watching the magic his percussion made with the Charles Lloyd New Quartet this past Friday evening at Wesleyan University.
Here is a YouTube clip that will give you a taste of what I am sweetly savoring 🙂
Eric has an impeccable sense of timing. His command of the drum kit and the sticks is extraordinary to witness.
Visit Eric Harland‘s Web site, it’s a very engaging experience. I am digging the music loop.
You will be hearing and seeing much more from Eric Harland, trust me, he’s the real deal!
Charles Lloyd wrote on his Web site,
Music is a healing force. It has the ability to transcend boundaries, it can touch the heart directly, it can speak to a depth of the spirit where no words are needed. It is a most powerful form of communication and expression of beauty. Whether in context of my “New Quartet” with Jason Moran, Reuben Rogers, and Eric Harland, or Sangam, with Zakir Hussain and Eric Harland, and more recently with Maria Farantouri, it gives me great joy to make music with each of them. Each time we play together there is a healing wholeness that permeates the atmosphere.
We must go forward, all the great ones that went before us insisted on this. For each generation, it is incumbent upon us to rise up and sing the song – the journey and pursuit is unending. I will always remember that from his death bed Master Higgins told me “We must continue to work on this music,” and as long as I am able, I will continue to do so. Each of us has his own experience, and from that experience, something is transmitted. For me, the purpose of life is to know God and the struggle of spiritual life will go on as long as I have breath. The pursuit and the music are one.
Yours in the music,
The most reflective, uplifting moment of the Charles Lloyd New Quartet concert at Wesleyan University, now two days hence, was the performance of the spoken word meditation, “Tagi.”
Pianist Jason Moran pulls up another chair to the piano and Charles Lloyd sits next to him swinging the microphone close to allow for his poetic narration to flow from his guiding light voice to our ears and senses.
“Tagi” is a Bhagavida Gita inspired Lloyd composition where Charles Lloyd poetically speaks in a meditative chant-like mantra on top of the arco bass of Mr. Rogers, the delicate piano tinkling of Mr. Moran and the “Om-like” baritone chants of Mr. Harland. The moment that Lloyd’s spiritual narration over the soft accompaniment creates is deeply inspiring yogi.
He knows bliss in the Atman
And wants nothing else.Cravings torment the heart:He renounces cravings.I call him illumined.
Not shaken by adversity,Not hankering after happiness:Free from fear, free from anger,Free from the things of desire.I call him a seer, and illumined.
The spirituality and the healing power of “Tagi” is further accented by Charles Lloyd on tenor sax. His instrument flows with a cornucopia of colors as we regale in the splendor of the illumination.
Ah at last it has all become abundantly clear, the mirror is a reflection of our inner soul.
Namaste, Charles Lloyd and the New Quartet, until we meet again on the astral plane, Peace be with you 🙂
Rosemary and I spent a memorable evening in Middletown, Connecticut last night enjoying ourselves as patrons of the arts. First we savored a superb dinner at Tuscany Grill on College Street. The pan seared scallops over angel hair pasta served in a spicy but oh so tasty sauce was exquisite. We highly recommend this two-floor Italian restaurant. The service was impeccable. We sat upstairs in the restaurant, overlooking the bar, directly across from the high-definition TV screens mounted on the opposite side wall. CNN was broadcasting special coverage of the breaking developments in Egypt which continued to be unsettling. Change is going to come, but what will it mean for the rest of our planet in terms of next-level co-existence?
We finished our meal quickly to get to the Wesleyan University Crowell Concert Hall to hear a pre-concert talk by Sarah Politz. We got a little lost trying to find the building so we missed Sarah’s presentation. 😦 I wonder if Sarah has slides available and how I might contact her about that information? (I’m open to suggestions…)
The Wesleyan University Center for the Arts eleven-building complex houses classroom and studio facilities in support of arts programs at the university. The CFA Spring 2011 calendar offers a comprehensive choice of leading, innovative world music performers. Anthony Braxton, noted American composer and jazz musician is a Professor of Music in the Wesleyan Music Department.
The Crowell Concert Hall is an architectural wonder with a breathtaking interior design. The stage is all housed in wood with creative textures of multi-tiered roofs that jut out at different angles. The acoustics of this 400+ seat venue are aesthetically pleasing. This was the perfect venue for the Charles Lloyd New Quartet. I felt like we had lifted and placed into the music setting that served as the backdrop for the ECM live Charles Lloyd Quartet recording Rabo de Nube.
I was finally getting to witness Charles Lloyd after many decades of silently desiring to see him perform live. Charles Lloyd has a spirituality and presence that is very commanding yet humble. He plays the sweetest saxophone I have ever heard. His sax was constructed of soft white gold. His energy was amazing as he drew us in from the first breath.
Charles Lloyd is magical to watch. His phrasing on the sax captures your senses. He accents his saxophone playing with sweet melodic verse contrasted by spiritual meditation of the highest order. I would have to say he creates a church that effectively communicates each person’s sense of self-worship and faith. I truly loved watching him perform as he lifted his leg and knee to further accent the notes. He is a band leader who delegates telepathically and the quartet responds with instinctual punctuality.
Charles Lloyd is complemented by three super talented jazz musicians. Jason Moran on piano has the touch of the keys on the Steinway that mesmerize your senses. My wife and I have seen Jason play before with his bandwagon at Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, where he did a recreation of Thelonious Monk‘s famous 1959 Town Hall Concert complete with black and white vintage 35mm footage. He made Charles Lloyd smile several times when he improvised or stretched out on his piano solos.
Charles Lloyd offered a varied music program. His execution of “tenderness sutras” wove rich tapestries of the heart within us. He invited Jason Moran’s wife, Alicia Hall Moran, who is an extraordinary mezzo-soprano vocalist to accompany their version of “Go Down Moses”. Alicia’s operatic voice added a beautiful, haunting accent to the American Negro spiritual. What really struck me was the irony of hearing this song’s lyrics in light of the revolution of change happening in Egypt at the same moment in time as they played. History repeating history…
Charles Lloyd, tenor and alto saxophone, flute
Jason Moran, piano
Reuben Rogers, double-bass
Eric Harland, drums and percussion
Alicia Hall Moran, mezzo soprano
The New Charles Lloyd Quartet also features Reuben Rogers on stand up double bass. He was very relaxed in his role yet his ability to slap the notes or strum the strings earned your immediate respect. I especially loved how into his distance he would go. taking us on that journey with him. His double bass I think was made of deep cherry red wood and it produced an eloquent resonance.
Eric Harland blew me away with his inventive drumming style. His technique and sensibilities captivated my attention as soon as he started at his drum kit. He would rest a folded over tambourine on the high hat or use the sets of bells he had on draped on either side of his drums. He had a really cool way of using his drum sticks to accent the music. He would drag the tip of the drum stick across the cymbal top at just the right point in the selection. He was never overpowering when he drummed but you paid strict attention to his drum shots and rolls as they were all very unique
Charles Lloyd made time after the concert to meet with fans and sign autographs. I was thrilled to meet him. He signed my concert program and the CD cover of his latest CD, which we heard a few songs from that night, The Mirror . I thanked him for his healing music. He folded his hands in prayer and bowed ever so slightly. I left his company elated and reassured being in his spiritual presence.