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Hagar's Song

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Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Product details

  • Audio CD (18 Feb. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ECM
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 87,314 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Pretty Girl 4:48£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Mood Indigo 5:13£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Bess, You Is My Woman Now 3:36£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. All About Ronnie 4:17£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Pictogram 3:56£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. You've Changed 4:47£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Hagar Suite: I. Journey Up River 6:20£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Hagar Suite: II. Dreams of White Bluff 9:45Album Only
Listen  9. Hagar Suite: III. Alone 2:30£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Hagar Suite: IV. Bolivar Blues 4:16£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Hagar Suite: V. Hagar's Lullaby 5:41£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Rosetta 4:38£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen13. I Shall Be Released 5:07£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen14. God Only Knows 3:31£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

Hagar's Song, from long-time ECM luminary Charles Lloyd, is an interactive duo recording with Jason Moran, the pianist who has been a key member of Lloyd's latter-day quartet (contributing to the albums Rabo de Nube, Mirror and Athens Concert) comes in time to mark Lloyd's 75th birthday on 15 March, 2013, and its centrepiece, the suite of the title, is very personal.

The 'Hagar Suite' is composed by the saxophonist and dedicated to his great-great-grandmother, who was taken from her home in south Mississippi at age 10 and sold to a slave-owner in Tennessee, who impregnated her when she was 14. "When I learned the story of Hagar's life it moved me very deeply," says Lloyd. "The suite mirrors the stages of her life; loss of family, loneliness and the unknown, dreams, sorrow, and songs to her newborn children."

The recording also features pieces especially dear to Lloyd, ranging from compositions by Billy Strayhorn ("Pretty Girl" a/k/a "Star-Crossed Lovers"), Duke Ellington ("Mood Indigo"), George Gershwin ("Bess, You Is My Woman Now") and Earl Hines ("Rosetta") to a standard strongly associated with Billie Holiday ("You've Changed"), Brian Wilson's most famous Beach Boys ballad ("God Only Knows") and a Bob Dylan song definitively interpreted by the Band ("I Shall Be Released"), played in memory of the late Levon Helm.

Personnel: Charles Lloyd (tenor and alto saxophones, bass and alto flutes), Jason Moran (piano, tambourine)


'This duet album places Lloyd's sumptuous tone, articulation and hypnotic melodic invention on tenor and alto sax centre stage, with Moran emerging as an eloquent and equal partner.' -- Jazzwise, (Stuart Nicholson) * * * *

'Lloyd's Hagar Suite is moving, but the real joy of the album is the duet's easy, affectionate way with tunes like Brian Wilson's God Only Knows.' -- The Daily Telegraph, (Ivan Hewett) * * * *

'Charles Lloyd's dry-toned sax and wistful flutes sit well over the resonance and rhythm of regular pianist Jason Moran's dark-toned accompaniment. Centrepiece is the atmospheric, spirit-affirming "Hagar's Suite".' -- Financial Times, (Mike Hobart) * * * *

'Lloyd invests his playing with a directness that transcends technique and can be deeply affecting. Moran is the perfect foil, with one foot in the blues past and the other in the abstract future, providing typically idiosyncratic but always intelligent accompaniment.' -- The Irish Times, (Cormac Larkin) * * * *

'The five-part Hagar's suite forms the centrepiece of this wonderful collection...for all its sadness the music is a joy.' -- Irish Examiner, (Kieran Bohane) * * * *

'Moran ably paces Lloyd in his more leftfield moments, as well as contributing beautifully to the lyrical ballads...and he has great fun with pre-bop styles on 'Rosetta'.' -- BBC Music Magazine, (Barry Witherden) * * * *

'The album is a testament to the sonic eloquence Lloyd discovered on his comeback via ECM at the end of the 80s - in haunting pieces such as Bess, You Is My Woman Now, the lovely ballad All About Ronnie and the distantly Ornette-like Hagar's Lullaby.' -- The Guardian, (John Fordham)

'Give it time and the intensity of the music comes through. Closing versions of Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" and Brian Wilson's "God Only Knows" are very moving.'

--The Independent On Sunday, (Phil Johnson)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By degrant on 28 Feb. 2013
Format: Audio CD
This is a recording of almost embarrassing intimacy at times. While discs such as "The Water Is Wide" and "Lift Every Voice" were confessional, plaintive, even restorative releases (in every sense of the word with "Lift Every Voice" constituting Lloyd's response to 9/11), this recording of Lloyd and Moran operating as a duo for the first time takes matters to a new level. Everything is imbued with an organic feel, from Lloyd's breathy tone on saxophones and flutes (the latter of which feature heavily in the 27 minute centrepiece which is "Hagar Suite", dedicated to Lloyd's great-grandmother, born into slavery).

However, running simultaneously with this intimacy of sound, is a restlessness of spirit, evident most obviously in "Pictogram", the only other Lloyd original apart from the afore-mentioned suite but also in the wonderfully-named "Dreams of White Buff" the disc's longest track and the second part of the suite. Moran's piano pulses, ebbs and flows, Jarrett-like, for one and half minutes before Lloyd enters in stately fashion on tenor sax, with perhaps his most beautiful performance of "Hagar's Song". The two musicians coax each other into an almost shrill exchange whereafter the music shifts from space and silence to ominous rumbles of sound with great ease and to equal effect.

Elsewhere, Lloyd and Moran provide distinctive interpretations of classics such as "Mood Indigo" and enrich, at least to my ears, "Bess, You Is My Woman Now" and the Bob Dylan number "I Shall Be Released" the originals of which I find too cloying and, in the latter case, sanctimonious. The fact that I have listened to "Hagar's Song" perhaps 20 times in the last 10 days is a testament to its quality, depth and variety of sound. Highly recommended indeed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By RBSProds TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 28 Feb. 2013
Format: Audio CD
The legendary jazz tenor sax titan Charles Lloyd and his longtime muse from his quartet, multiple poll-winning pianist and MacArthur Foundation 'genius' Fellowship awardee Jason Moran, are caught on ECM records in enthusiastic, inspired duo performances of original compositions, jazz classics, show tunes, obscure ballads, and a Beach Boys mega-hit. Stripped bare of bass and drum accompaniment, these talented musicians are free to improvise and embellish, riding their internal duo pulse. The 'best of the best' begins with the beguiling "Pretty Girl", a touching version of Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released", and a lovely languid "You've Changed". The expansive 5 part suite dedicated to his great, great grandmother is full of exotica (Journey Up River), beauty (Alone), turbulence (Bolivar Blues), exhaustion (Dreams of White Bluff), and serenity (Hagar's Lullaby) with Lloyd reaping the whirlwind on flute and saxophone. Then there is a sterling performance of Earl 'Fatha' Hines' "Rosetta" and a fabulous version of Brian Wilson's "God Only Knows" that is the icing on the cake. Quite a great improvisational duo with a singular musical purpose, recorded on the pristine ECM soundscape, covering a wide spectrum of songs. Charles LLoyd turns 75 this year and this recording with duo partner Jason Moran's protean pianism shows Mr Lloyd is playing at a peak of invention, facility, and exploration. Jazz is the swinging 'sound of surprise' and this is a great example, full of beauty. Highly Recommended. Four and a half SUPERB Stars! (14 tracks, reviewed in MP3 format.)
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I, along with many other I'm sure, was introduced to Charles Lloyd through his wonderful live recoding of Forest Flower at the Monterey Festival in the mid-sixties and that record spent a lot of time on our Dansette record player (and you had to remember not to leave it on the turntable once it had finished playing otherwise the tube amp underneath the turntable would warp the record because it ran so hot). After that I remember in the early 70's buying for next to nothing, Lloyd's Live in Europe, Journey Within and Love In, and also Coltranes' Sound, from Woolworth's who had bought a job lot of remaindered Atlantic records and were piling them high and selling cheap). These were all good but did not, for me, have the impact of Forest Flower. After that he rather went to ground apart from guest performances on the Beach Boys' Surf's Up and Holland albums and truly odd records like Moonman.

Fast forward to the 80's and his association with ECM and I bought the marvellous Canto and then Lift Every Voice and Voices in the Night. I liked all of these very much, but Hagar's Song is something special. It is only Lloyd and the truly wonderful pianist Jason Moran - no rhythm section - and therefore has a very intimate, personal and stripped back quality. Lloyd's saxophone sounds more mellow here than at any time since Forest Flower and in many places is achingly beautiful. The piano is very richly recorded , particularly in the bass register, deliberately I suspect to provide the anchoring of the missing rhythm section. But the lyricism is also tempered with elements of freer expression in a number of tunes which removes any temptation to categorise this as wallpaper jazz.

I believe this is his best sustained piece of work since Forest Flower and recommend it unhesitatingly.

Peter Loosley
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