What a delight this CD is. It doesn't look that much - a quintet playing some standards, traditional tunes and some originals, but it has a freshness that hits you from the first track. This has the feeling of a session completely improvised. Perhaps it was - musicians of this caliber would be easily capable of creating great music off-the-cuff. Lloyd is accompanied by the superlative Brad Mehldau on piano, guitar and drums veterans John Abercrombie and Billy Higgins and Mehldau trio member Larry Grenadier on bass. Some of the highlights include the close recording picking up Higgins's grunts of delight as he accompanies his colleagues, a rare reading of Cecil McBee's 'Song of Her', and a version of Strayhorn's 'Lotus Blossom' that will leave you speechless with appreciation that this album was made. No review of this CD would be complete without some enthusing over Brad's piano playing. Anyone who has enjoyed his music before will notice something new here - contributions which are playful, ruminative, humorous and astonishingly mature. To hear his introduction and solo on Georgia is to listen to a great communicator in the process of telling a story. He is the real thing. And if you're willing to REALLY listen, you'll find he has so much to say. In short, the most simplistic of tools have created a work of uncommon depth.
Pat Conroy's "The Water is Wide" is an early work of his that talks about his teaching career on a Carolina sea island with gullah children of very little education. Teachers will find this inspiring. I loved how he told the status-quo maintaining administration to go to hell! As always, Conroy's prose and understatement is terrific.
This novel is especially appropriate for teachers, educators, and students who aspire to make a difference in the world through teaching. This book revolves around themes of social change, specifically the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement where attitudes of the heart lagged behind newly instituted laws. This book is about a young, idealistic, teacher who comes of age in a harsh, prejudiced environment. He fights for justice and change in a culture that does not want to change, that fears change.
The tiny, lush island of Yamacraw lies twenty miles off the coast of South Carolina. Populated by black people who depend on the sea and their farms for their livelihoods, the island has practically been forgotten by the mainland. The white powers that govern the island neglect the needs of the Yamacraw people and thus perpetuate the poverty, drunkenness, illiteracy, and hopelessness that consume the islanders. It is this environment and situation in which Pat Conroy enters in 1969. He becomes appalled at the lack of education the children have received from the inefficient and uncaring educational system. He exposes his lovable class to the world they are cut off from and thus becomes the bridge that brings ideas to their young minds-- minds that have no idea what state or country they live in. Everyday, Conroy crosses the treacherous waters between the island and the mainland to bring his kids hope and the education they rightfully deserve. However, it is not nature he must overcome to educate these kids, but the monstrous forces of prejudice, inefficient educational bureaucracy, and institutional racism.
This is the kind of novel that gets you fired up about the ills and wrongs of society and makes you want to change the world. It is definitely a must read for aspiring educators and teachers. I loved this book. Conroy tells his story poignantly and insightfully. Plus, the children are a hoot!
So you slip the cd in your player (maybe you looked at the album notes, and learnt very little), you sit back, and what happens? A few, spare, almost hesitant guitar chords, which return stronger, richer and more confident now, the sense of depth and warmth accentuated by a restrained bass, back in the mix, and then there's a little shimmer of percussion, like small fish in deep water. Feel the tension start to ease out of your body? This is what matters in life, not the rat-race which lurks elsewhere. The sax makes its entrance now, reassuring, letting you know its there, neither pushy or dominant,but slowly arching, broadening out the canvas; finally we get the piano, adding a richness you didn't believe was possible. There's really very little else to say: a superb production job, even by ECM's own high standards, and some of the most sensitive and rewarding ensemble playing you're ever likely to hear. If you have ears to hear, and a brain and heart to engage, rush out and buy this classy piece of work. Me? I've got other things to do: I need to play it yet again!
My first novel by Pat Conroy. I was really intrigued by this piece of work and I'm not sure exactly why. I guess in thinking back that perhaps that it was simply a well-written novel. Conroy has a fine way with words and a real feel for the plight of people. As a teacher, I had a tough time visualizing the situation on the island, but I had no trouble understanding the politics. I enjoyed this book, talked it up and now I am moving on to PRINCE OF TIDES.
I have never read a book by Pat Conroy that I didn't love, and The Water is Wide is no exception. Conroy is one of the best writers of our time. I didn't just read this book; I became involved in it. I wanted to help the students myself. As with all of his books, I was sorry when I came to the end.