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Charles Lloyd: Trios: Chapel


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Charles Lloyd: Trios: Chapel
Blue Note Records has a history of boasting strong stables of players. In the 1950s and 60s, we could look to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, trumpeter Lee Morgan, pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Wayne Shorter—and if ever there was an incomplete list compiled, that one is it. Time rolls on. Twenty years (or thereabouts) into the new millennium, the label hosts an all-star roster once again—pianist Gerald Clayton, saxophonist Melissa Aldana, sax man Immanuel Wilkins, guitarist Julian Lage, and—to wrap up another partial listing— veteran saxophonist Charles Lloyd.

At eighty-four years of age, Lloyd—after a sixty-plus year career that includes album releases on Atlantic, Columbia and ECM Records, Warner Music—extends his twenty-first century connection with Blue Note Records via a "Trio of Trios," three separate trio albums, featuring three different groups of players, released one at a time on different dates over a mid-to-late 2022 time span.

The first of these, Trios: Chapel, was named for the San Antonio, Texas, Elizabeth Coates Chapel in which it was recorded. Lloyd's choice of bandmates: guitarist Bill Frisell and bassist Thomas Morgan, a duo teaming responsible for a pair of gorgeous and understated ECM albums, Small Town (2017) and Epistrophy (2019). In addition, Frisell is a member of Lloyd's other Blue Note recording group, the Marvels; so there is a connection, a built-in rapport at play in the spontaneous-sounding set of tunes.

Overall, the group displays a light touch, making buoyant and delicately pretty sounds that vibrate in an understated chapel resonance. An obvious parallel is with the Paul Motian recordings the drummer did with saxophonist Joe Lovano and Frisell for ECM Records: It Should Have Happened A Long Time Ago (1985) and I Have The Room Above Her (2005). Lloyd's sound is gentle, bird-like (not Charlie Parker "bird-like," but possessed of an actual ornithological elocution), opening with the prettiest version of Billy Strayhorn's "Bloodcount" imaginable. Frisell is succinct, his notes and chords ringing clear and true, unembellished, while Morgan's deft underpinnings offer a perfect support without calling out for attention.

Dreamy, compelling, non-propulsive sounds that exist outside of time, as a sort of soundtrack to some kind of tranquil enlightenment, or as a testament to "right now."

Track Listing

Bloodcount; Song My Lady Sings; Ay Amor; Beyond Darkness; Doroteas's Studio.


Charles Lloyd
Bill Frisell
guitar, electric
Thomas Morgan
bass, acoustic
Additional Instrumentation

Charles Lloyd: alto flute.

Album information

Title: Trios: Chapel | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

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