Playlist – 23 September 2015: Charles Lloyd and more

More new jazz from Scandinavia on tonight’s show along with a touch of afrobeat influenced jazz and another Cosmic Jazz essential track.

This week’s CJ essential is the most played Charles Lloyd track on the
imagesshow. We’ve featured it many times since its release in 2008 and we’ll continue to – it’s that good. For us, the standout track is Booker’s Garden, Lloyd’s tribute to his childhood friend and classmate, the trumpeter Booker Little who died tragically young at the age of 23. Little was a player who straddled the hard bop and free jazz worlds not unlike Lloyd – he appeared on Coltrane’s Africa/Brass, Max Roach’s We Insist! Freedom Now and Eric Dolphy’s Five Spot club albums, for example.

Rabo de Nube was recorded in Basel during the band’s European tour in 2007 and with the best incarnation of Lloyd’s groups on the ECM label. The first key element is pianist Jason Moran whose very physical, percussive style with style is all over this music. There’s the hard-blowing Prometheus, on which Lloyd and Moran are pushed towards free jazz by Eric Harland’s exceptional drumming. Sweet Georgia Bright has been recorded by Lloyd several times but never like this. Here it showcases Lloyd’s powerful tenor playing whereas our featured cut Booker’s Garden is a workout for some beautifully lyrical alto flute. But partway through, the groove deepens and in comes Moran with a breathtaking piano solo – you can actually feel him making decisions about where to go.  But this isn’t to forget the contribution from bassist Rueben Rogers and drummer Harland who hold the whole together with a pulsating backbeat. Listen to the track on Rabo de Nube if you can but if not, check out this different but similarly powerful version recorded in 2011. Here’s the groove cuts in at 8:00 and although the whole track is both more restrained and reflective (and incomplete) than the recorded version there’s still a tangible energy. The four remaining long tracks on the album are all equally good, with the title track a version of Cuban balladeer Silvio Rodriguez’s famous song . Fore more remarkable interplay between Lloyd and his quartet listen to Ramanujun – or, indeed any of the other cuts on this outstanding album.

It appears that – like many jazz artists who have earned their bus passes – Lloyd’s sense of adventure is greater than ever and, as he nears his eighth decade, he shows no signs of slowing down. He was a highlight at the 2014 London Jazz Festival and this year he played the WOMAD Festival here in the UK. Catch him if you can.

We have featured Kamasi Washington since the release of his first
the epic4album, the 3CD monster The Epic, and in May we provided a link to the launch concert in Los Angeles. Washington plays at this year’s London Jazz Festival in November but the gig is already sold out – so for a two hour taste of what you’ll be missing, here’s that Jazz Night in America show from earlier this year.

  1. Jachna and Buhl – Miles Space from Synthomatic
  2. John Lumpkin – The Conqueror from The Devotion
  3. Joanna Koncharczy – More from More
  4. Stockholm Jazz Orchestra – The Oracle  from Today
  5. Charles Lloyd – Booker’s Garden from Rabo de Nube
  6. Kamil Pitrowicz Quintet – Birth from Birth
  7. Jimi Tenor and Tony Allen – Three Continents from Inspiration Information

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