Charles Lloyd: Hyperion With Higgins (2002)
Charles Lloyd has followed a direction in his music that was first pointed out by John Coltrane. His playing is infused with both the spirituality and passion of Coltrane’s classic quartet music. The series of records he has produced for ECM these past ten years have all been gems and this is no exception.
Lloyd employs young pianist Brad Mehldau and Mehldau’s bassist Larry Grenadier along with guitarist John Abercrombie for the Water Is Wide session. The inclusion of Mehldau begs for the obvious comparison to Lloyd’s early recordings with Keith Jarrett. Mehldau, the ever-sensitive pianist, proves he can step in and out of his introspection to play able-sideman to a superstar like Lloyd. But then every player here turns in a sparkling performance. Higgins’ understated style provides the warmth throughout.
Lloyd’s sound just seems to get better with each session. He neither strains nor sweats here laying down graceful passages. His broad tone works well against Mehldau’s lyric piano and Abercrombie’s crunch & pop guitar. It’s not all ballads here either. The quintet comes out swinging on the title track, exercising a boppish outer edge sound. Like Coltrane, Lloyd utilizes passion within the confines of his own lyricism. This is a wondrous session.
Track Listing: Dancing Waters, Big Sir To Bahia; Bharati; Secret Life Of The Forbidden City; Miss Jessye; Hyperion With Higgins; Darkness On The Delta Suite; Dervish On The Glory B; The Caravan Moves On.
Personnel: Charles Lloyd
Record Label: ECM Records