[JPL] Charles Lloyd..."Sangam"...(ECM)...NYTimes review...

r durfee rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 12 17:56:25 EDT 2006


Charles Lloyd
"Sangam"
(ECM)
  The saxophonist Charles Lloyd emerged in the tailwind of John Coltrane, and the implicit message of his music since he first became known was that all cultures understand each other through their musicians. Drones and modes did a lot of the work: by using them, Mr. Lloyd — after Coltrane's model — showed that the cultural distance between America, India, Africa and Spain wasn't so enormous after all. 
  But for all his interest in music around the world, Mr. Lloyd's bands have tended to look like conventional jazz quartets. "Sangam" is the name of his new record and his new working band, with only the Indian tabla player Zakir Hussain and the drummer Eric Harland. You might expect it to be a well-meaning attempt to cross bridges, something that ends up being rhythmically dissolute, a matter of tones and techniques that cancel each other out. It's not; it's a powerfully coherent record. 
  Mr. Hussain has a long history playing with jazz musicians, including John McLaughlin in the group Shakti. Mr. Harland, one of the best young drummers in jazz, plays long grooves quietly and with intensity, weaving in and out of Mr. Hussain's pitched tabla rhythms. But they've all got flexible roles in the band. On one track, "Guman," Mr. Hussain sings and Mr. Harland plays piano while Mr. Lloyd plays bass flute. 
  But Mr. Lloyd grows most complex, lyrical and powerful when he plays free improvisations on the tenor saxophone, stringing together phrases that all seem to refer glancingly to old songs — "Bésame Mucho," "Angel Eyes." "Sangam" is a live recording, from 2004, and it happens to be the first time the band performed together, though it doesn't sound like it. BEN RATLIFF


Roy Durfee
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