Charles Llloyd & The Marvels – I Long To See You (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 67:35 minutes | 1,4 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | @ Blue Note Records
Blue Note releases I Long To See You, the profound new album from Charles Lloyd & The Marvels. The album finds the iconic saxophonist and recent NEA Jazz Master in the company of a new band featuring guitarist Bill Frisell and pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz, along with his longtime quartet members bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland. The album also includes two remarkable guest vocal appearances by Willie Nelson and Norah Jones. All together they have created a sumptuous collection of 10 songs that range from traditional hymns to anti-war folk protests to re-envisioned Lloyd originals from his earlier recordings.
Saxophonist Charles Lloyd has been working with guitarists periodically since the 1950s: Calvin Newborn, Gabor Szabo, John Abercrombie, and others have played in his bands. On I Long to See You, he (with his stellar rhythm section – bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland) renews that relationship with two gifted players: Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz (the latter on lap and pedal steel). This program yields folk and spiritual songs, re-recordings of Lloyd’s own tunes, a pop nugget, and a new original. In what feels like the input from the label, there are two guest vocal appearances to boot: Willie Nelson beautifully delivers Ed McCurdy’s antiwar classic “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream,” and Norah Jones offers a slow, dreamy reading of “You Are So Beautiful.” I Long to See You feels more like a collaboration between Lloyd and Frisell than a leader date, which is sometimes problematic: these men can be overly deferential to one another. The album starts promisingly with a brooding read of Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” that threatens to explode at any moment. Frisell and Leisz (who have worked together a lot) take it through deep winding blues, building tension before Lloyd enters and carries it toward the outside before returning to blues, while Harland’s circular drumming becomes somberly hypnotic. Lloyd plays flute on “Of Course, of Course” (originally recorded for an album of the same name for Columbia in 1964). Like its predecessor, it’s tough, swinging post-bop with colorful slide guitar work and rim-shot syncopations. “La Llorona,” from Lloyd’s ECM years, is a standout: it captures his open, mournful, Spanish-tinged wail, fleshed out by elegant, timbral guitars, a sad bassline, and Harland’s magical timekeeping. “Shenandoah” (which Frisell has recorded before), “All My Trials,” and “Abide with Me” are all melodically attractive, but they lack the undercurrent of passion Lloyd has imbued traditional material with in the past. He and Frisell appear so seduced by their melodies, they treat them as fragile objects, not songs whose meanings need to be further explored. Frisell’s speculative solo intro on “Sombrero Sam” is overly long; Lloyd’s rhythmic sweeping flute doesn’t enter until five minutes in, and slips out too quickly. The lone new tune, “Barche Lamsel,” more than compensates. Over 16 minutes in length, it’s easily the most exploratory thing here. It commences slowly but starts cooking five minutes in. Lloyd and the rhythm section are at their modal improvisational best, moving through folk, funk, blues, Eastern modes, and post-bop. Frisell and Leisz lend fine solos as well as layered textural and atmospheric support. The tune is a journey that ends in a question mark. I Long to See You is well worth investigating even if, at times, it is overly tentative.
01 – Masters Of War
02 – Of Course, Of Course
03 – La Llorona
04 – Shenandoah
05 – Sombrero Sam
06 – All My Trials
07 – Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream
08 – Abide With Me
09 – You Are So Beautiful
10 – Barche Lamsel