Charles Lloyd: Jumping the Creek

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Charles Lloyd: Jumping the Creek While saxophonist Charles Lloyd made some memorable ensemble discs with the late, great drummer Billy Higgins—'99's Voice in the Night, '00's The Water is Wide and '01's Hyperion with Higgins—there was always something a little safe about these recordings. When working with Higgins, with the exception of their last release together, '04's duet Which Way is East, Lloyd seemed to ground himself in more mainstream territory than he did on his more broadly-reaching '90s albums with pianist Bobo Stenson and bassist Anders Jormin. With Jumping the Creek Lloyd returns to more experimental territory, delivering possibly the freest record of his career.

That's not to say that Lloyd's penchant for writing or finding lyrical material has gone by the wayside. But when Lloyd and his current quartet—featuring pianist Geri Allen, bassist Robert Hurst, and drummer Eric Harland—tackle even the most bittersweet romantic material, like the opening Jacques Brel piece "Ne Me Quitte Pas, it's clear that they are approaching it from a more liberated place. And while the quartet comes more directly from the American jazz tradition, there are also distinct notions of the more European impressionism of Lloyd's '90s groups. The result is something of a consolidation and, as Stanley Crouch describes in the liner notes, summation of Lloyd's forty-year musical and spiritual quest.

While Lloyd exploits the inestimable talent and power of the quartet, he also breaks it down into a mix of duo and trio pieces. "Ken Katta Ma Om starts as a loosely-formed duet between Lloyd and Harland—an intuitive drummer who, since emerging on the scene in the mid-'90s, has been garnering a growing reputation with artists including McCoy Tyner and Terence Blanchard—but resolves into a three-way conversation when Allen joins in. Allen, whose recent release The Life of a Song shows just how much she has grown as a player in the past few years, demonstrates the ability to wear many hats—from richly melodic and on form to abstract and unfettered. The title track is a largely free exchange that finds the group exploring the various permutations and combinations possible, all within a brief six-minute span.

Hurst, a bassist who emerged in the mainstream with Wynton Marsalis in the '80s, has broadened his reach in recent years with artists as diverse as Lou Rawls, Keb' Mo' and Terri Lyne Carrington. On Jumping the Creek he is equally stylistically unencumbered, as comfortable on the Eastern-tinged "The Sufi's Tears as he is the more swinging, yet still open-ended "Sweet Georgia Bright, which makes up the second half of the "Georgia Bright Suite.

Lloyd's voice has never been better. While sometimes dismissed as a Coltrane knockoff, such direct comparisons miss the point. Truthfully, Lloyd is the sum total of a wider range of musical references that go much farther back. Still, his supple approach and robust tone are instantly recognizable, taking his influences to a more modern musical space; and Jumping the Creek represents a clear highlight in a career filled with memorable milestones.

Visit Charles Lloyd and Universal Classics on the web.

Track Listing: Ne Me Quitte Pas; Ken Katta Ma Om (Bright Sun Upon You); Angel Oak Revisited; Canon Perdido; Jumping the Creek; The Sufis Tears; Georgia Bright Suite: a. Pythagoras at Jeckyll Island; b. Sweet Georgia Bright; Come Sunday; Both Veils Must Go; Song of the Inuit

Personnel: Charles Lloyd (tenor and alto saxophones, taragato), Geri Allen (piano), Robert Hurst (double-bass), Eric Harland (drums, percussion)

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: ECM Records | Style: Modern Jazz


More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Concerto para Moviola" CD/LP/Track Review Concerto para Moviola
by Edward Blanco
Published: July 2, 2016
Read "Perfectly Out Of Place" CD/LP/Track Review Perfectly Out Of Place
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 12, 2016
Read "The Last Remaining Payphone in L.A." CD/LP/Track Review The Last Remaining Payphone in L.A.
by Paul Naser
Published: October 18, 2016
Read "Flying Machines" CD/LP/Track Review Flying Machines
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 29, 2016
Read "All My Treasures" CD/LP/Track Review All My Treasures
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "Beekman Vol. 02" CD/LP/Track Review Beekman Vol. 02
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 23, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!