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Mirror CD

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (27 Sept. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: ECM
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 123,523 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  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
  7. Mirror
  8. Ruby, My Dear
  9. The Water Is Wide
  10. Lift Every Voice and Sing

Product Description

Product Description

For half a century - from the legendary 'Forest Flower' quartet of the 60s all the way through to today - master saxophonist Charles Lloyd has been one of the most insightful band leaders in all of jazz, encouraging great players to give of their best. Many critics have opined that Lloyd's "New Quartet", with Jason Moran, Reuben Rogers and Eric Harland may be the best of them all. The group's previous release, the live Rabo de Nube, was a sensational success, so this studio recording is especially eagerly-awaited.

'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)

BBC Review

Saxophonist Charles Lloyd has always operated at a tangent to the jazz mainstream. Coming to prominence in the 1960s with a progressive yet accessible mix of Coltrane-influenced post-bop and sunny soul-jazz, his quartet with drummer Jack DeJohnette, pianist Keith Jarrett and bassist Cecil McBee achieved unlikely fame with the hippie counterculture and scored a massive hit with their 1966 album Forest Flower. Lloyd largely dropped from sight in the 1970s and most of the 1980s, but he returned in 1989 with Fish Out of Water, revealing a mature sensitivity and an inclination towards ballads, and marking the beginning of his ongoing relationship with the iconic ECM label. With this latest release he seems to have come closer then ever to mainstream respectability, while retaining some of his maverick idiosyncrasies.

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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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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There was critical consensus that 2008's "Rabo de Nube" was a very special beast and the summation of Lloyd's art over the last decade. "Mirror" is the first studio recording by the same quartet and has yielded, if anything, more ecstatic reviews bar one from a very non-plussed and let-down lover of "Rabo de Nube". If truth be told, "Mirror" is not quite the masterpiece advocated but much much better than the dissenter's protest.

A quick look at the track listing is not overly encouraging. Three of the tracks have appeared on Lloyd's releases in the last decade and the proliferation of standards suggests a lack of inspiration. However, the opening notes of "I Fall in Love Too Easily" dispel any such doubts, Lloyd's alto beautifully winding its way round the melodic, restrained and doleful bass of Reuben Rogers. "Desolation Sound" sounds initially like Coltrane's "Naima" before revealing it as worthy of the jazz firmament as "Monk's Mood" or "Ruby, My Dear" which appear elsewhere.

Although Lloyd's flute playing is conspicuously (and sadly) absent, his saxes sing with a richness, maturity and vitality. For anyone who has seen him live, Eric Harland's drumming is pretty restrained throughout, but there is still plenty of snap and crackle as he plays with a skittish sensibility reminiscent of Jon Christenson. Jason Moran's piano playing is always elegant and colourful but, for me, Rogers steals the sidemen's show, displaying great versatility. The intensity and edge increase with the final three tracks - a deconstructed "Lift Every Voice and Sing", the wonderful "Being and Becoming, Road To Dakshineswar With Sangeeta" and the possibly even better "Tagi" full of the Indian feel reminiscent of many of Lloyd's releases as Lloyd narrates a poem over wonderful bowed lines from Rogers. It is a climatic feeling to a great album which, for all that it does not quite heat the peaks of its predecessor, is highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
Five INVIGORATING Stars! Marvelous performances by the Charles Lloyd Quartet in the followup to the award-winning, live Rabo de Nube (Tail Cloud or Whirlwind). Mr Lloyd, the venerable tenor sax titan, at age 72 is still an ascendant marvel of great improvisational invention and compositional imagination. He is playing with a talented group that wasn't even born when he first announced his presence to the jazz world by lighting up his original version of "Forest Flower" with guitarist Gábor Szabó on Chico Hamilton's Man from Two Worlds. This is the first studio date from this very talented and cohesive group which includes Jason Moran on piano, Reuben Rogers on bass, and Eric Harland on drums and finds them in a more pensive, balladic mood, but still intense and very inspired. Also, LLoyd plays alto sax on this CD. From a lovely, intense version of "I Fall In Love Too Easily" to a buoyant "Go Down Moses" delivered over a driving beat to 2 Monk ballads to originals and one ringer, among others, this is beautiful, introspective swinging jazz. The other top performances begin with the title track "Mirror" which gets a memorable performance, that went straight to my crowded iPod. The ringer here is the rock hit "Caroline, No" by Lloyd's friend Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds [2000 Re-issue] CD: Lloyd takes it to the jazz 'woodshed', turning a rock beauty into a luminous jazz ballad that proves music is truly universal, especially in the hands of a master.Read more ›
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This is the 1st studio album of the Lloyd-led quartet including Jason Moran on piano,Reuben Rogers on bass,Eric Harland on drums and of course, Charles Lloyd on tenor and alto saxophone.'Mirror' revisits old material,standards,spirituals, originals and a pop song.This album is the lunar(mellow,meditative) to the solar Rabo de Nube(live).

Lloyd is the elder statesman-cum-guru drawing the younger musicians into his spirit slipstream,allowing them the space to open up and be themselves,all looking for the zone,"being in the music in the moment",when the band improvises collectively, "without any worries,just giving it all".On `I Fall in Love'we get an elegant,swinging reading,the alto sax weaves up and down around the throbbing bass.

On `Go,Down Moses',the spiritual,we get free-form floating sax with tight beat, counterpointed by Moran's piano.La Llorona,a traditonal song,is plaintive and moving with lyrical sax over a slow tempo rhythm section,underscored by piano. 'Caroline,No' the Beach Boys pop song has been transformed into a jazz standard.Lloyd/Moran carry the melody and improvise off it,with bass/drums anchoring it.

Two Monk tunes are exquisitively covered with melodic free-rein piano and free-floating tenor sax.On `Mirror', the golden tones of his sax ride over feeders from piano,bass and drums.`The Water is Wide'opens with Rogers bluesy bass riff,the trio funkily counter a rhapsodic sax followed by Moran's gospel chords framed by Harland's easy beat.The hymn `Lift Every Voice and Sing',becomes complex,

interactive post bebop. `Being and Becoming'a spiritual Eastern-influenced original where sensuous sax glimmers drop like autumn leaves over a skittering beat.'Tagi'is like a Ginsberg-inspired Eastern meditation,piano trills flow through bow-like bass lines.The sax flies up over the mountains of the mind on a Coltrane-like spiritual quest of self-overcoming.Listening to the CD is akin to purification,self-healing.
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