Thursday, March 7, 2013

Charles Lloyd, Jason Moran, Hagar's Song

Charles Lloyd sounds as good as ever, maybe even better. Jason Moran always seems to sound good. He is a pianist's pianist. Jason has worked with Lloyd's band in recent years but to my knowledge never recorded with him as a twosome. Put them both together for a series of duets and you have Hagar's Song (ECM B0018001-02), a good thing indeed.

The tenor-piano team tackle of wide variety of material, from Earl Hines's "Rosetta" to Brian Wilson's "God Only Knows," and from Duke's "Mood Indigo" to a tribute to Levon Helm, with a version of Dylan's "I Shall Be Released."

Lloyd's "Hagar Suite" forms the core of this set. It comes to terms with the life of his great-great grandmother, who was sold into slavery at the age of ten. It is a moving tribute.

This is music with a timelessness. It is neither new nor old, but both. It is a Lloyd-Moran representation of a wide musical tradition, of historic tragedy, of being alive today within tradition and aware of history. Hagar's Song is highly personal and often sublime.

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