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Monday, January 31, 2011

To the Charles Lloyd Quartet yesterday, the second event in this season's Hunt Real Estate Art of Jazz series at the Albright-Knox. In his pre-show remarks producer Bruce Eaton talked a bit about the reputation the program has acquired over the years among jazz musicians: apparently the room and the audience are an inducement to artists like Lloyd, and why not? It is, to my way of thinking, a perfect way to pass a mid-winter afternoon, ensconced in a comfortable room, the last light of day filtered through the bare trees outside. Lloyd's one of those cats who's been around, schooled by Phineas Newborn, working with Chico Hamilton, Cannonball Adderly, then leading bands featuring, inter alia Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette. I think of him as the guy who played "Forest Flower", and had sort of mystical, Eastern influenced approach. I did not know that he'd dropped out of jazz for a time: Dick Judelson told me that the last time he'd seen Lloyd he was backing up the Beach Boys.

In any event he was in fine form Sunday, mostly working in a post-bop style, backed by a rhythm section-- Jason Moran on piano, Reuben Roger, bass and Eric Harland, drums that'd would be worth seeing all by themselves. He gave them a lot of room, which was fine with me, at one point wandering off to stare out the window at Hoyt Lake for a few minutes before coming back on stage to take his solo. In his review for the Buffalo News Garaud MacTaggart was less enthusiastic about the performance than I was, although we probably think more or less alike about the last number they performed before the encore. Called “Tagi” it featured Lloyd joining Moran at the piano, Harland vocalizing didgeridoo sounds into a microphone, and Roger bowing his bass while Lloyd recited verse from the Bhagavad Gita. I have stuff like that on vinyl on my shelves-- it used to sound great late at night in a dorm room-- but it's not so much what I'm into these days.Even so I think MacTaggart is a bit harsh: "In some respects, it was an interesting piece that focused on a spiritual aspect obviously important to Lloyd, but it wasn’t exactly like hearing 'A Love Supreme.'" Maybe not, but the people we were with liked it fine, and it seems to have stuck with other people who were in in the audience as well.

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