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Friday, February 15, 2013

CD Review - Charles Lloyd/Jason Moran: Hagar’s Song

Charles Lloyd  - Reeds,  Jason Moran- Piano.
(Review by Steve Horowitz)
This is a classic Saxophone – Piano duo. Lloyd, a 60’s, legend and his current quartet’s pianist Moran combine seamlessly and are clearly at ease in their own musical company.
The album begins with a series of classic tunes written by the greats  Pretty Girl (Strayhorn), Mood Indigo (The Duke), and Bess you is my Woman Now (Gershwin)  are all played with grace and subtlety with a suitable addition of melancholy  and bluesiness where required, The next 3 tracks. A Charles Lloyd composition Pictogram is then sandwiched between two classic ballads All About Ronnie (Joe Greene),  and You’ve Changed (Carl Fischer).  
This brings us to the title suite Hagar’s Song named after  Lloyd’s  Great – Great - Grandmother who was taken from her parents in Mississippi aged 10 and sold to a slave trader. The peace is highly evocative  and moving of what was a tragic period in  Lloyd’s own personal history. Lloyd alternates between tenor and alto saxes and tenor and alto flutes and is complemented beautifully by Moran’s  tender piano playing.
The album concludes with Rosetta (Earl Hines) and then two numbers from 60’s rock icons - Bob Dylan’s  I Shall be Released and finally and completely out of the blue a real mellow and hypnotic version of Brian Wilson’s God Only Knows.
Charles Lloyd may shortly be celebrating his 75th birthday but this album  proves that he his still a force to be reckoned with especially when teamed up with the youthful 37 year old Jason Moran.
Charles Lloyd/Jason Moran: Hagar’s Song is available on the ECM label from Feb. 15
Steve Horowitz.

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