LAJC Picks: Charles Lloyd Quartet, Sunday October 18

Charles Lloyd Quartet

Lloyd, tenor saxophone
Gerald Clayton, piano
Reuben Rogers, bass
Kendrick Scott, drums

Sunday, October 18, 8:30pm

Zipper Hall, Colburn School
$40 ($30 Students) tickets

by Gary Fukushima

[Warning: This is a very piano-centric article.]

When saxophonist Lloyd first burst upon the world stage in 1966 at the Monterey Jazz Festival (a concert which became the sensational live album Forest Flower), he had secured on (and off) the piano bench a young precocious talent named Keith Jarrett.  Fourteen years later, another young piano prodigy, Michel Petrucciani, journeyed to Big Sur and knocked on Lloyd’s door.  Lloyd, who had retired from performing at that point, was compelled by the pianist’s playing and persistence to come out of retirement, to overwhelming critical acclaim.

Great pianists have always been a source of the saxophonist’s artistic dialogue, starting back in Lloyd’s days as a youth in Memphis, where he was mentored by the legendary Phineas Newborn, Jr., and continuing into the present with an endless succession of young piano masters.  Since 2000, Geri Allen, Brad Mehldau, and Jason Moran have all been featured on Lloyd’s albums and in concert, with Lloyd taking a special affinity to Moran, even putting out an exquisite duo album with the pianist/philosopher (Hagar’s Song).

Next in the line of succession is L.A. native Gerald Clayton, who debuted onstage with Lloyd for the first time last September in a duo concert, and is now part of Lloyd’s quartet, along with bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Kendrick Scott.  Clayton, whose 2013 album Life Forum was a Grammy nominee for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, has become an influential voice among the emerging generation of jazz dilettantes.  Clayton, Rogers, and Scott make for a turbo-charged rhythm section that has the potential to rival Lloyd’s initial group of Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette and Cecil McBee.

Through the years and rotating personnel, Lloyd has remained a steady, centered point of gravity.  His sound and approach have remained largely intact, still vital and relevant to today’s music, deepened and strengthened by wisdom and experience.  His playing always seems to emanate from a divine inspiration, a gift Lloyd continues to bestow on his younger bandmates and jazz musicians everywhere.

This concert is sponsored by the Jazz Bakery

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