The creative drive progresses on Charles Lloyd’s superlative Blue Note new release, I Long to See You, a recording of pristine beauty, refined elegance, passionate emotion and spiritual sensitivity. It features a marvelous new lineup of voices who deliver a sumptuous collection of ten songs that range from traditional hymns to anti-war folk protests to re-envisioned originals that appeared on his earlier recordings.
Lloyd has enlisted the rhythmic core of his stalwart New Quartet ensemble—bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland—and invited top-tier collaborators including guitarist extraordinaire Bill Frisell and stellar pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz. Appropriately Lloyd has dubbed the quintet The Marvels. In addition, I Long to See You spotlights two guest vocalists: Willie Nelson and Norah Jones because as Lloyd says, ‘I love the voice.’” As for the meaning of the title, Lloyd succinctly explains: “In the reservoir of my heart, there has always been this deep longing.”
The seed for the new project was planted in 2013 when Lloyd invited Frisell to perform with him at UCLA’s Royce Hall. They had met earlier that year when they shared a stage, and Lloyd says, “We made a connection. I knew that we were moving toward the sound. Bill is a great sensitive and very intuitive. When he was a kid in Denver, he told me he was influenced by my first band with Jack DeJohnette and Keith Jarrett. He said that music opened his imagination to a wide spectrum of new possibilities. We don't need to say much when we get together—it’s all expressed in the music, in the sound, the feeling.”
"The deeper I dive into the ocean of sound, I find there is still deeper and further to go."
As for adding Leisz into the mix, Lloyd says, “When I knew that Greg was going to be in town during our L.A. concert, I asked him to sit in with us. He and Bill are like two sides of a coin, so amazing things happened during that concert.” While he pondered releasing the live show as his next Blue Note album, his wife, Dorothy Darr, insisted that he head to the studio instead (she serves as a co-producer of the new album with Lloyd and Blue Note president Don Was).
Lloyd’s history with the six-string goes back to his early days in his Memphis hometown. “When I was a kid, I was around Calvin Newborn a lot, and later in high school, I became friends with an amazing pedal steel player, Al Vescovo. Al and I listened to a lot of music and jammed together,” Lloyd says. As a recording artist, he played with an array of guitarists, from his early collaborations with Gábor Szabó, Sonny Greenwich, Robbie Robertson, Roger McGuinn, Tom Trujillo, then later with John Abercrombie and even his stretch in the 1970s playing with the Beach Boys.
As for his other band members, Lloyd says, “Eric and Reuben are one of the continuous fibers of continuity in my music; they understand. We have been together for over a decade and it continues to bloom.”
|Brand||Blue Note Records|
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