CHARLES LLOYD AND JASON MORAN, HAGAR'S SONG

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There's a settled feeling to the music on "Hagar's Song" (ECM), the quietly adventurous duo album from legendary saxophonist Charles Lloyd and modern pianist Jason Moran that forge their generational divide through the connective power of music. Playing songs by Billy Strayhorn ("Star Crossed Lovers") Duke Ellington's "Mood Indigo" and Gershwin's "Bess, You Is My Woman Now," it's apparent these musicians may be as equally matched through technique as they are with their mutual love of song. Lloyd, 75, has a resounding facility on the saxophone, instantly recognizable, that weaves melodious strains with avant-garde inflections. It's a sound developed over his many recordings throughout the 60s when Lloyd could be considered a jazz superstar and prior to his self imposed state of seclusion in the 70's. A 2010 MacArthur Fellowship recipient, Moran, 38, circumvents the previous pianists that have played with Lloyd to add his encyclopedic knowledge of jazz piano styles and he applies them here with taste and a naturalistic style -- perfect for these wistful, sometimes romanticized tunes. 

The always dapper, Jason Moran
The album is a storybook, grounded by the title track, a 5-part suite chronicling Lloyd's great, great grandmother, a slave whose life story is expressed in this unique format. There's brilliance to the shine that Lloyd and Moran impart within this music. By turns elegiac and redemptive, "Hagar's Song" is best appreciated in the late hours, where two jazz masters can be heard at the height of their powers. Much like the celebrated Keith Jarrett collaboration, "Jasmine" (ECM, 2010) "Hagar's Song" is an enriching sonic experience that stays with you long after the last note is played.

The spring of 2012 is a momentous time for Charles Lloyd as he celebrates his 75th birthday. In addition to Hagar's Song, his label is re-releasing his first five albums for ECM in a specially priced boxed set, while Lloyd sets to a rare and special tour. On the East Coast, Lloyd will bring the band on his 2011 "Athens Concert" (including Jason Moran) to the Metropolitan Museum Of Art's spectacular Temple Of Dendur on March 15. He will also appear in Princeton, NJ at Wilson College on March 13. (14 tracks; 65:45 minutes) 
www.charleslloyd.com  www.jasonmoran.com

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JAZZ IN SPACE: CHARLES LLOYD AND JASON MORAN, HAGAR'S SONG

Monday, February 25, 2013

CHARLES LLOYD AND JASON MORAN, HAGAR'S SONG

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There's a settled feeling to the music on "Hagar's Song" (ECM), the quietly adventurous duo album from legendary saxophonist Charles Lloyd and modern pianist Jason Moran that forge their generational divide through the connective power of music. Playing songs by Billy Strayhorn ("Star Crossed Lovers") Duke Ellington's "Mood Indigo" and Gershwin's "Bess, You Is My Woman Now," it's apparent these musicians may be as equally matched through technique as they are with their mutual love of song. Lloyd, 75, has a resounding facility on the saxophone, instantly recognizable, that weaves melodious strains with avant-garde inflections. It's a sound developed over his many recordings throughout the 60s when Lloyd could be considered a jazz superstar and prior to his self imposed state of seclusion in the 70's. A 2010 MacArthur Fellowship recipient, Moran, 38, circumvents the previous pianists that have played with Lloyd to add his encyclopedic knowledge of jazz piano styles and he applies them here with taste and a naturalistic style -- perfect for these wistful, sometimes romanticized tunes. 

The always dapper, Jason Moran
The album is a storybook, grounded by the title track, a 5-part suite chronicling Lloyd's great, great grandmother, a slave whose life story is expressed in this unique format. There's brilliance to the shine that Lloyd and Moran impart within this music. By turns elegiac and redemptive, "Hagar's Song" is best appreciated in the late hours, where two jazz masters can be heard at the height of their powers. Much like the celebrated Keith Jarrett collaboration, "Jasmine" (ECM, 2010) "Hagar's Song" is an enriching sonic experience that stays with you long after the last note is played.

The spring of 2012 is a momentous time for Charles Lloyd as he celebrates his 75th birthday. In addition to Hagar's Song, his label is re-releasing his first five albums for ECM in a specially priced boxed set, while Lloyd sets to a rare and special tour. On the East Coast, Lloyd will bring the band on his 2011 "Athens Concert" (including Jason Moran) to the Metropolitan Museum Of Art's spectacular Temple Of Dendur on March 15. He will also appear in Princeton, NJ at Wilson College on March 13. (14 tracks; 65:45 minutes) 

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