Friday, March 08, 2013

Charles Lloyd and Jason Moran - Hagar's Song (ECM, 2013)

Saxophonist Charles Lloyd develops a soft and reverential tone on this album, a duet featuring Lloyd’s tenor saxophone and flute with Jason Moran’s piano. During his career, Lloyd has worked with a number of outstanding pianists from Keith Jarrett to Michel Petrucciani. Lloyd and Moran worked together on the live album Rabo de Nube as well as Lloyd's studio album Mirror, and this recording takes the meditative vibe further. The most involving performances were covers, a beautiful reading of Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo,” which was respectful and deferential to the classic melody. Thelonious Monk’s “Bolivar Blues” shows them digging deep and playing with a little more strength and power than the hushed ambiance they develop on the remainder of the recording. Moran’s piano pushes dark and probing while Lloyd develops a more roughly hewn tone. “Journey Up” has Lloyd switching to a ethereal sounding flute with Moran moving to shaken percussion and gentle accompaniment, while “Rosetta” is a nice composition with Lloyd peeling off layers of saxophone. A couple of meditative pop covers close the album, a hauntingly beautiful version of “I Shall Be Released” and a hopeful meditation on “God Only Knows.” This album was certainly beautiful and played with delicate grace by two masters of the music, but the quiet and lush veneration of the music led my my mind to wander. The music is a thoughtful and meditative mix, hymn-like and just became something of a soft and gentle breeze that passed me by without much effect. Hagar's Song -

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