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|1. I Fall in Love Too Easily (For Lily)|
|2. Go Down Moses|
|3. Desolation Sound|
|4. La Llorona|
|5. Caroline, No|
|6. Monk's Mood|
|8. Ruby, My Dear|
|9. The Water Is Wide|
|10. Lift Every Voice and Sing|
'Mirror' is the first studio album by the Lloyd-Moran-Rogers-Harland unit and it features beautiful, transformed versions of favourites including both Lloyd originals and tunes Charles has made his own over the years. There is a pair of Thelonious Monk tunes, "Ruby, My Dear" and "Monk's Mood", as well as hymns and traditionals including "Go Down Moses", "Lift Every Voice and Sing", and "The Water Is Wide". Lloyd covers Brian Wilson's "Caroline, No" (the saxophonist guested on several Beach Boys albums in the 70s, including the classic "Surf's Up"), and plays the standard "I Fall In Love Too Easily". Lloyd originals include "Desolation Sound", "Mirror", "Tagi" (which includes a spoken-word meditation by Lloyd) and "Being and Becoming".
There is plenty of Lloyd's graceful, mellifluous and poetic tenor sax: We also get to hear some of his rarely-showcased alto saxophone, the instrument that Billy Higgins called Charles's "secret weapon". The band plays superbly, with Jason Moran in particular exhibiting all the skills that have made him a multiple poll winner.
Personnel: Charles Lloyd (tenor and alto saxophone, voice), Jason Moran (piano), Reuben Rogers (double-bass), Eric Harland (drums, voice)
Mirror is Lloyd’s first studio recording with his young quartet featuring pianist Jason Moran, drummer Eric Harland and bassist Reuben Rogers. As on their live debut – 2008’s Rabo de Nube – Lloyd harnesses their youthful energies to create lush, tender ballads with a deep respect for jazz tradition. There are two affectionate versions of Thelonious Monk tunes, as well as a delicate rendition of the standard I Fall in Love Too Easily – on which Lloyd swaps his usual tenor for the alto saxophone, revealing a fragile vulnerability not always detectable in his playing. There’s some accomplished support from the sidemen too. Rogers steals the show on The Water Is Wide with a succulent, bluesy vamp; and Harland pulls off a feat of lateral thinking on a version of the Beach Boys’ Caroline, No, rattling out free-ish, skittering snare behind a loose ballad.
It’s in the final quarter of the album that Lloyd’s radical sensibilities shine through. Lift Every Voice and Sing transforms an old-time spiritual into intense free-jazz; Being and Becoming shimmers with a limpid spirituality; and the album finale, Tagi, has Lloyd delivering a hushed recitation on Eastern philosophy over a deep arco bass drone, with Harland’s skipping drums revisiting the 2006 album, Sangam, he and Lloyd made with master tabla-player, Zakir Hussain.
It’s been a long, strange trip for Charles Lloyd – but the journey’s far from over.--Daniel Spicer
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This is the first Charles Lloyd album I have bought following reading the rave reviews. Obviously someone loves it but I found it totally dreary. Read morePublished on 11 Dec. 2010 by Mr. S. Lawless
As someone who has been following the music of Charles Lloyd for a number of years, and has most of his recorded music, I have found this set to be superb, and a tribute to the... Read morePublished on 10 Dec. 2010 by N. Moreland