Couldn’t resist sharing this video of the Charles Lloyd Quartet performing Caroline No, 🙂
I have learned so much from the dedicated focus of jazz pianist and composer, Jason Moran. It’s only fair that I help his artistry in return by making a contribution to his Kickstarter project, Grammar, a documentary film about jazz. We will all benefit from his combined evolution of jazz, hip hop, performance and visual art.
Jason Moran is a 2010 MacArthur Fellow and the triple-crown winner of Downbeat Magazine’s 2011 Critics Poll. A graduate of the acclaimed jazz programs at the Manhattan School of Music and Houston’s High School of the Performing and Visual Arts, Jason now presides as the Kennedy Center‘s Artistic Advisor for Jazz and serves on the piano faculty of the New England Conservatory.
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…
- Go down, Moses,
- Way down in Egypt land,
- Tell old Pharaoh,
- Let my people go.
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.
Charles Lloyd will be visiting Wesleyan University on January 27th for a panel discussion about the spirituality of music and again on January 28th when he will be performing an evening concert with the Charles Lloyd New Quartet. A pre-concert talk will be held at 7:15 p.m. by Sarah Politz, a Wesleyan Music Graduate student.
The latest recording by the Charles Lloyd New Quartet is entitled, Mirror. It is a studio recording that creates an exquisite pastoral setting that accommodates “the need and the call for some tenderness,” says Lloyd.
The dimensionality of an artist’s discussions about music as a healing force and the spirituality involved is of keen interest to me. Wesleyan is an ideal backdrop for this dialog because they have leadership ministry and world music programs. I am jazzed about the opportunity to explore these discussion with Charles Lloyd and other guests.
Anthony Braxton is the Music Department Chair at Wesleyan University and it is my sincere hope he will be directly involved with Charles Lloyd’s appearances on the Wesleyan campus.
I am looking forward to this rare opportunity with Charles Lloyd to learn more about his music and views on spirituality at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Ct.
A Conversation about Music and Spirituality
with Charles Lloyd and Guests
Thursday January 27, 2011
4:15 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Hall