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Charles Lloyd

Charles Lloyd is an NEA Jazz Master

The critical consensus is that Charles Lloyd has never sounded better. As he enters his 76th year, the depth of his expression reflects a lifetime of experience. Lloyd has a legendary history in the music world, and could certainly be in a position to slow down and rest on his laurels. But looking back has never been of great interest to this tender warrior; this seeker of beauty and truth. “Go forward,” is his motto, as he keeps shifting to a higher, well calibrated gear.

His concerts and recordings are events of pristine beauty and elegance, full of intensely felt emotion and passion that touches deep inside the heart. This is not entertainment, but the powerful uncorrupted expression of beauty through music. When music vibrates, the soul vibrates and touches the spirit within. "Mr. Lloyd has come up with a strange and beautiful distillation of the American experience, part abandoned and wild, part immensely controlled and sophisticated." —The New York Times.


Charles Lloyd was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on March 15, 1938. Like New Orleans, 400 miles to the south on the Mississippi, Memphis has a rich river culture and musical heritage saturated in blues, gospel and jazz. Lloyd's ancestry of African, Cherokee, Mongolian, and Irish reflects a similar rich culture. He was given his first saxophone at the age of 9, and was riveted to 1940's radio broadcasts by Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington. His early teachers included pianist Phineas Newborn and saxophonist Irvin Reason. His closest childhood friend was the great trumpeter Booker Little. As a teenager Lloyd played jazz with saxophonist George Coleman and was a sideman for blues greats Johnny Ace, Bobby Blue Bland, Howlin' Wolf and B.B. King.

Classical music also exerted a strong pull on the young Lloyd. In 1956 he left Memphis for Los Angeles to earn a degree in music at USC where he studied with Halsey Stevens, a foremost Bartók authority. While his days were spent in academia, Lloyd spent nights getting educated on the job in L.A.'s jazz clubs, playing with Ornette Coleman, Billy Higgins, Scott La Faro, Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, Eric Dolphy, Bobby Hutcherson and other leading west coast jazz artists. He also was a member of the Gerald Wilson big band.

In 1960 Lloyd was invited to become music director of Chico Hamilton's group when Dolphy left to join Charles Mingus's band. The Hungarian guitarist Gabor Szabo and bassist Albert "Sparky" Stinson soon joined Lloyd in the band. Hamilton's most memorable albums for Impulse Records, Passin’ Thru and Man from Two Worlds, featured music arranged and written almost entirely by Lloyd, and during this period of prolific composing he was also finding his unique voice as a saxophonist. A memorable collaboration took place between Lloyd and the Nigerian master drummer Babatunde Olatunji, with whom the saxophonist played when he wasn't on the road with Hamilton.

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Multiple Reviews

Charles Lloyd Trios: Chapel, Ocean

Read "Charles Lloyd Trios: Chapel, Ocean" reviewed by Stefano Merighi


Cosa deve ancora dimostrare Charles Lloyd, dopo oltre 60 anni di carriera al vertice del jazz (con le dovute pause)? Nulla, è chiaro. E allora in questi ultimi anni, il sassofonista di Memphis si abbandona ad un intimismo che scava nelle pieghe di una vita che ne ha viste passare tante, pacificata infine nella saggezza della meditazione, ai confini del silenzio. Rispetto alle musiche di The Marvels, questo progetto dei “Trios" asciuga ancor più gli accenti, ...

1
Radio & Podcasts

New Blue Notes And More

Read "New Blue Notes And More" reviewed by Bob Osborne


Four new albums from the legendary Blue Note label dominate this edition of the show. There are also two new releases from the Smoke Sessions label as well as the pick of the best new releases. Featuring Charles Lloyd, Brian Bromberg, Melissa Aldana, Ivo Perelman & Matthew Shipp, Ron Miles, TAC, Bill Frisell, Mark Kelso's Mystic Isle Project. Charles McPherson, Raagaverse, One For All ft. George Coleman, Billy Childs & Temple University Studio Orchestra, Yelena Eckemoff, Emiliano Lasansky, and, Gabriel ...

21
Album Review

Charles Lloyd: The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow

Read "The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow" reviewed by Chris May


Those of us who were going to jazz festivals in summer 1966, and were lucky enough to catch the Charles Lloyd Quartet, will likely have one tune in particular imprinted on our memories. That was because “Forest Flower" so precisely reflected the acid-drenched zeitgeist blossoming in Europe and the US. Lloyd, Keith Jarrett, Cecil McBee and Jack DeJohnette recorded the piece at the Monterey festival in September 1966, and when Forest Flower was released in early 1967, it was the ...

41
Building a Jazz Library

Charles Lloyd: Defiant Warrior Still On Song

Read "Charles Lloyd: Defiant Warrior Still On Song" reviewed by Chris May


As fool's errands go, few compare with selecting a Top Ten Albums collection from Charles Lloyd's extensive top-drawer output. But here goes. Lloyd newbies could consider the list a launch pad, and seasoned fans can compare the choices with their own... Anyone going to jazz festivals in summer 1966, and lucky enough to catch the Charles Lloyd Quartet, will likely have one tune in particular imprinted on their memory. Not because Lloyd had already twice recorded “Forest ...

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Album Review

Charles Lloyd: The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow

Read "The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic


For a long, grateful while now the music of Charles Lloyd has rippled out from that rarified space where the ego does not prevail. A pool of depth and wonder which culminates in one masterful artwork after another, for example Wild Man Dance (Blue Note, 2015) and 8: Kindred Spirits Live from the Lobero Theater (Blue Note, 2019). Lloyd's eleventh Blue Note album, the double disc set  The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow is also his first ...

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The Big Question

What was the most memorable jazz concert you attended?

Read "What was the most memorable jazz concert you attended?" reviewed by Chris May


If you are an AAJer, you will almost certainly have some live performances filed under magic moments. My first came in 1966 when I saw Charles Lloyd at the Juan-Les-Pins Jazz Festival in Antibes, France. At the time I knew Lloyd only through his recorded work with Chico Hamilton's group and nothing had prepared me for the new look Lloyd Quartet other than a few tabs of Owsley's finest earlier that summer. The band delivered half an hour or so ...

10
Play This!

Charles Lloyd: Defiant, Tender Warrior

Read "Charles Lloyd: Defiant, Tender Warrior" reviewed by Scott Lichtman


Feng shui--the Chinese art of physical arrangements--says that a garden is perfect when no item can be removed without diminishing its substance. Woodwind grand-master Charles Lloyd's song release, “Defiant, Tender Warrior," is a lot like feng shui in this respect. This minimalist gem blends suggestive flurries on tenor sax, ethereal reflections on piano, and a steady thrum on acoustic bass and drum kit. The treatment is so delicate that you are fully attuned to the full minute-long crescendo that begins ...

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Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Charles Lloyd

Jazz Musician of the Day: Charles Lloyd

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Charles Lloyd's birthday today!

The critical consensus is that Charles Lloyd has never sounded better. As he enters his 76th year, the depth of his expression reflects a lifetime of experience. Lloyd has a legendary history in the music world, and could certainly be in a position to slow down and rest on his laurels. But looking back has never been of great interest to this tender warrior; this seeker of beauty and truth. “Go ...

1

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Charles Lloyd

Jazz Musician of the Day: Charles Lloyd

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Charles Lloyd's birthday today!

The critical consensus is that Charles Lloyd has never sounded better. As he enters his 76th year, the depth of his expression reflects a lifetime of experience. Lloyd has a legendary history in the music world, and could certainly be in a position to slow down and rest on his laurels. But looking back has never been of great interest to this tender warrior; this seeker of beauty and truth. “Go ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Charles Lloyd

Jazz Musician of the Day: Charles Lloyd

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Charles Lloyd's birthday today!

The critical consensus is that Charles Lloyd has never sounded better. As he enters his 76th year, the depth of his expression reflects a lifetime of experience. Lloyd has a legendary history in the music world, and could certainly be in a position to slow down and rest on his laurels. But looking back has never been of great interest to this tender warrior; this seeker of beauty and truth. “Go ...

3

Festival

Lloyd-Hussain-Lage Trio to Perform Special Show Live from Healdsburg—Saturday, September 26, 7PM PT

Lloyd-Hussain-Lage Trio to Perform Special Show Live from Healdsburg—Saturday, September 26, 7PM PT

Source: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

On Saturday, September 26, Healdsburg Jazz presents the world premiere of Charles Lloyd, Zakir Hussain and Julian Lage playing together as a trio for the first time, to be streamed live around the world. Each musician will be driving to the intimate wine country town in Northern California for this extraordinary real-time live show. Saxophonist/flautist Charles is heading up from Santa Barbara, tabla-master Zakir from Marin County, and guitarist Julian all the way from Nashville, Tenn. The group will play ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Charles Lloyd

Jazz Musician of the Day: Charles Lloyd

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Charles Lloyd's birthday today!

The critical consensus is that Charles Lloyd has never sounded better. As he enters his 76th year, the depth of his expression reflects a lifetime of experience. Lloyd has a legendary history in the music world, and could certainly be in a position to slow down and rest on his laurels. But looking back has never been of great interest to this tender warrior; this seeker of beauty and truth. “Go ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Charles Lloyd

Jazz Musician of the Day: Charles Lloyd

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Charles Lloyd's birthday today!

The critical consensus is that Charles Lloyd has never sounded better. As he enters his 76th year, the depth of his expression reflects a lifetime of experience. Lloyd has a legendary history in the music world, and could certainly be in a position to slow down and rest on his laurels. But looking back has never been of great interest to this tender warrior; this seeker of beauty and truth. “Go ...

1

Recording

The Old Catchup Game: Daan Kleijn And Charles Lloyd Reviewed

The Old Catchup Game: Daan Kleijn And Charles Lloyd Reviewed

Source: Rifftides by Doug Ramsey

For at least the next couple of days we’ll attempt to deal with some of the backlog of albums that accumulated during the week or so when the Rifftides staff was on vacation. Daan Kleijn, Passages, (Self Produced) Kleijn’s spare format of his guitar with bass and drums allows him freedom to pursue an instinct for melodic creativity. Despite its title, his composition “Bird Song” has no obvious Charlie Parker allusion. Rather, it develops subtle rhythmic movement, and relaxed interaction ...

1

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Charles Lloyd

Jazz Musician of the Day: Charles Lloyd

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Charles Lloyd's birthday today!

The critical consensus is that Charles Lloyd has never sounded better. As he enters his 76th year, the depth of his expression reflects a lifetime of experience. Lloyd has a legendary history in the music world, and could certainly be in a position to slow down and rest on his laurels. But looking back has never been of great interest to this tender warrior; this seeker of beauty and truth. “Go ...

1

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Charles Lloyd

Jazz Musician of the Day: Charles Lloyd

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Charles Lloyd's birthday today!

The critical consensus is that Charles Lloyd has never sounded better. As he enters his 76th year, the depth of his expression reflects a lifetime of experience. Lloyd has a legendary history in the music world, and could certainly be in a position to slow down and rest on his laurels. But looking back has never been of great interest to this tender warrior; this seeker of beauty and truth. “Go ...

4

Performance / Tour

Legendary NEA Jazz Master Charles Lloyd Plays Vicars Street in Dublin on November 16

Legendary NEA Jazz Master Charles Lloyd Plays Vicars Street in Dublin on November 16

Source: All About Jazz

Charles Lloyd, one of jazz’s historic greats, returns to Dublin with his classic quartet on Wednesday 16 November for a one-off show on Irish soil as part of an extensive European tour. Described by Nate Chinen as “a storyteller with a seeker’s heart… one of jazz’s great mystery men”, the show comes two years after Lloyd’s triumphant performance at the NEC, but this visit offers fans the rare chance to see NEA Jazz Master Lloyd in the more intimate, club-like ...

“Charles Lloyd is an international treasure.” —Carlos Santana

“Follow the career of Charles Lloyd, and you see a map of great jazz across half a century. His shows, full of momentum and intuition, perfectly represent the idea that the best jazz needs to be experienced live.” —Ben Ratliff, The New York Times

“He's expansive in his musical discourse yet without a wasted note.” —Wall Street Journal

“Jazz improvisation as complex and far-reaching as the Lloyd quartet had to offer can be a daunting listening experience. … The listener is taken on a journey through gravity-less improvisational space. To the credit of Lloyd and his players, that journey was illuminated by one musical enlightenment after another.” —Los Angeles Times

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Primary Instrument

Saxophone

Location

Santa Barbara

Clinic/Workshop Information

Master classes

Susan Krebs
vocals
Lena Bloch
saxophone
Jamie Taylor
guitar, electric
Richard Howell
saxophone
Rex Shepherd
guitar, electric
Rea Meir
woodwinds
CHYKE MARTINS
saxophone
Noam Shapira
saxophone
Pieces
band / ensemble / orchestra
Hill Collective
band / ensemble / orchestra
Marcel Lüscher
saxophone, tenor

Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

The Sky Will Still Be...

Blue Note Records
2024

buy

Bells On Sand

Blue Note Records
2022

buy

Trios: Chapel

Blue Note Records
2022

buy

Tone Poem

Blue Note Records
2021

buy

8: Kindred Spirits...

Blue Note Records
2020

buy

Montreux Jazz...

TCB Music
2019

buy

Videos

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