Charles Lloyd, “Requiem (Live From the Loberto Theatre)”
For saxophonist Charles Lloyd, 2018 unfolded as a festive year: his 80th, with celebrations at the Newport Jazz Festival, at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and on Jazz Night in America. But nothing could top the concert held on his actual date of birth, March 15, in his adopted hometown of Santa Barbara, Calif.
For that performance, at the historic Lobero Theatre, Lloyd called upon an elite cadre of younger musical partners: pianist Gerald Clayton, guitarist Julian Lage, drummer Eric Harland and bassist Reuben Rogers. They played songs from across his career, making the concert a retrospective. Blue Note Records — whose president, Don Was, briefly sat in along with rhythm-and-blues icon Booker T. Jones — captured the music for a monumental release, 8: Kindred Spirits (Live from the Lobero), due out on Feb. 14.
Available as a limited-edition boxed set, it will consist of three LPs, two CDs and a concert DVD, with a hardcover book and a pair of photographic prints. (A standard version — LP/DVD, CD/DVD or digital — will feature only music from the first set.)
“Requiem,” a prayerful ballad Lloyd has recorded many times over the years, going back to Notes From Big Sur in 1991, is the first single from this new release. The video above, taken from the DVD, captures the slow build of this performance, with fine solos by Lage and Clayton as well as the man of the hour.
Charles Lloyd is on tour this spring; his Kindred Spirits band will be at the Blue Note in New York on April 25 and 26, as part of a four-night residency.
Eldar Djangirov has been an undeniable force of pianism for at least the last 15 years, since his major-label debut at age 17. He’ll turn 33 this month, and his artistry has evolved on multiple fronts, judging by the first taste of a dynamic new trio album, Rhapsodize. Due out on Feb 21, it features Raviv Markovitz on bass and Jimmy Macbride on drums, with a track list that includes jazz standards, like “A Night in Tunisia,” as well as some original compositions.
“Anthemic,” which has its video premiere here, is one of those originals — a forward-tilt tune that presses the piano, and the entire rhythm team, into contrapuntal overdrive. File it under “new-wave acoustic fusion,” depending on your taste for classification. Whatever you call it, this is music of dazzling effect, especially during a piano solo that shoots into the stratosphere, just after the two-minute mark.
Jeff Parker, “Go Away”
Several years ago, guitarist Jeff Parker released The New Breed, a calmly intoxicating album that metabolized ideas from experimental jazz, hip-hop, funk and soul. Among other things, it was a tribute to Parker’s father, who died as the album was taking shape. Now comes a follow-up inspired by Parker’s mother, who’s still with us. Suite for Max Brown — Maxine Brown was her maiden name — will be released on Jan. 24, inaugurating a partnership between International Anthem and Nonesuch.
The album features a cadre of players in Parker’s circle, including Josh Johnson, on piano and saxophone; Paul Bryan, who plays bass and co-produced; and Rob Mazurek, on cornet. “Go Away,” the second single, rides a groove that draws from both Afrobeat and, to my ears, the percussive funk guru David Garibaldi. (At this point it’s unclear which of the three drummers are on the album — Jay Bellerose, Makaya McCraven or Jamire Williams — is on this track.) As for the title, which surfaces as a refrain: sometimes what’s needed is an anthem of refusal.
Norma Winstone & John Taylor, “Lucky To Be Me”
The incomparable singer and lyricist Norma Winstone has maintained creative partnerships with many leading musicians, within and beyond her native England — and for many years, her chief collaborator was her husband, the elegant pianist John Taylor. In Concert is a snapshot of their musical partnership, recorded in 1988 at the Guildhall Music School in London. It was released on cassette just over a decade ago, and will see wider release this Friday, on Sunnyside.
The album opens with a version of “Lucky to Be Me,” from Leonard Bernstein’s 1944 Broadway musical On the Town. Its upbeat spirit is a tonic — and also serves, at this juncture, as a moving tribute to Winstone’s bond with Taylor, who died several years ago, at 72.
McPhee / Rempis / Reid / Lopez / Nilssen-Love, “Qaanaaq Part 1 (Excerpt)”
One evening late in 2018, a cosmic alignment brought five fearless improvisers together for the Transmission Series at Chicago’s Hungry Brain. Along with saxophonist Dave Rempis, a fixture on the series, they included Joe McPhee on pocket trumpet and tenor saxophone; Tomeka Reid, on cello; Brandon Lopez, on bass; and Paal Nilssen-Love. on drums. Their take-no-prisoners free improv will soon see release on Rempis’ indie label, Aerophonic Records.
Of Things Beyond Thule volume 1 will be released on Feb. 18 as an instant collector’s item: it will only be available on vinyl, in a pressing of just 330 copies. The only digital trace of the album is this five-minute excerpt of Side A, titled “Qaanaq Part 1.” It should be enough to whet the appetite, for anyone drawn to this sort of spontaneous communion, and these shining exponents of the form.