On November 18, Charles Lloyd will release Trios: Sacred Thread, the third and final album in his ‘Trio of Trios’ series, an expansive project that presents the legendary saxophonist and NEA Jazz Master in three different trio settings.
Trios: Sacred Thread, which features Lloyd with guitarist Julian Lage and percussionist Zakir Hussain, is previewed today with the spellbinding single “Desolation Sound”, which you can check out below.
The first album in the series, Trios: Chapel, featured guitarist Bill Frisell and bassist Thomas Morgan. The second, Trios: Ocean, featured pianist Gerald Clayton and guitarist Anthony Wilson. The three albums are being released individually on vinyl, CD, and digital formats, and can also be ordered as the Trio of Trios 3-LP vinyl boxset.
Charles Lloyd has long been a free spirit, master musician, and visionary. For more than 6 decades the legendary saxophonist and composer has loomed large over the music world, and at 84 years old he remains at the height of his powers and as prolific as ever. Early on Lloyd saw how placing the improvised solo in interesting and original contexts could provoke greater freedom of expression and inspire creativity, and throughout his remarkable career he has searched for alternative ways to frame his improvisational skills.
Past experiences often illuminate the present in Lloyd’ music, for example, the provenance of The Sacred Thread — and the encounters that helped inform it — originated in the late fifties.
“When I was studying at the University of Southern California, Ravi Shankar and Alla Rakha used to come around,” he recalls.
“That’s when I heard the call of Mother India — not only the music, but poets like Tagore and the saints such as Milarepa. Later, I found my way to Ramakrishna and Vedanta. I was also deeply moved by Ali Akbar Khan, the sarod player. His sons Ashish and Pranesh are on my album, Geeta.” Released in 1973, it was described by Billboard as, “Indian music blending cogently with free flowing modern jazz.”
“Zakir and I played together in concert for the first time in 2001,” says Lloyd, “and it was then I learned Alla Rakha was his father, whom I saw playing with Ravi Shankar at USC, so it has been like that… connections on a journey. You could call it Providence, I call it a Sacred Thread.”
“I first heard young Julian when he was 12,” Lloyd continues. “He grew up not far from Healdsburg and was known to be a wunderkind — he had big ears and I heard his potential. Twenty years later I invited him to join me – he’s still a young man and his ears have only grown bigger. So — I keep being blessed by souls who find a way to me, it still inspires me to go out on the high wire and try to fly.”
On September 26, 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Lloyd streamed a concert for a virtual audience at The Paul Mahder Gallery in Healdsburg, California. Joined by Hussain and Lage, Lloyd observed, “While the energy and exchange between musicians and audience is gone, there is a concentration and focus that is not interrupted by applause.”
Charles Lloyd plays the following Fall 2022 tour dates:
Nov. 4 – GPAC – Memphis, TN
Nov. 6 – Earshot Jazz – Seattle, WA
Nov. 8 – MCA Denver at the Holiday Theater – Denver, CO
Nov. 10 – Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club – Portsmouth, NH
Nov. 12 – Lensic Theater – Santa Fe, NM