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Charles Lloyd: Lift Every Voice

Mark F. Turner By

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There exists a timeless and pure quality to the music of jazz saxophonist Charles Lloyd that is refreshing and reverent. Like a fine wine that gets better with age, such is the case with his vision and musical purpose. Coming off last year’s highly acclaimed effort Hyperion for Higgins, Lloyd continues his statement for the endearing passion that burns within on Lift Every Voice And Sing. The new recording declares an uplifting empathy of the spirit by using a mixture of hymns, spirituals, and inspirational compositions that are reflective and memorable. With a change in cast from his last recording, new musicians share Lloyd’s musical vision: the ultra talented Geri Allen now takes the piano helm, Billy Hart provides exceptional drum work, and Marc Johnson on bass continues to solidify the line. John Abercrombie returns from previous recordings and delivers his usual stellar guitar work.

The two disk recording is filled with delights, from the endearing spirituals “Amazing Grace” and “Deep River”, to popular covers such of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” and Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful”. Each is uniquely realized with Lloyd’s touch. The group lays down some serious and sweet sounds, which make a joyous listening experience. There is also an earthy feel on the gritty yet warm “East Virginia, West Memphis”, which exposes the roots of Lloyd’s blues experience and rural influences, as Lloyd and Abercrombie trade somber notes with a fiery passion. Lloyd’s warm and passionate sound is smooth and thoughtful on the beautiful “Rabo De Nube”, and he even plays flute on the ethereal “Beyond Darkness.” One of the many gems on recording is the remake of the spiritual “Go Down Moses” which unfolds like a musical Exodus, with extreme creativity and outstanding solos from all musicians. With the utmost respect and dedication to jazz pioneers, and a voice that clearly expresses his own message, Lloyd continues to bless us with music that inspires, as well as entertains.


Track Listing: DISC 1: 1. Hymn To The Mother 2. You Are So Beautiful 3. Amazing Grace 4. East Virginia, West Memphis 5. What's Going On 6. Angel Oak 7. Te Amare 8. I'm Afraid 9. Hafez, Shattered Heart

DISC 2: 1. Rabo De Nube 2. Blood Count 3. Go Down Moses 4. Beyond Darkness 5. Nocturne 6. Wayfaring Stranger 7. Deep River 8. Lift Every Voice And Sing 9. Prayer, The Crossing

Personnel: Charles Lloyd

Title: Lift Every Voice | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: ECM Records


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