Monday, April 20, 2015

Still Wild After All These Years

Saw Charles Lloyd last night at the Met. A few thoughts:

  • I first saw him fifteenish years ago. Just Billy Higgins and him in a tiny back office of a shopping mall in Baldwin Hills. One of the most breathtaking music experiences of my life. Back then, sat in a folding chair inches from Higgins's feet. This time, sat in a folding chair about 100 feet away with a shit sight line. Still sounds dope as all hell.
  • It takes an egoless man to roll up with a band of smoking players and allow them the soloing spotlights. Cymbalom player Miklós Lukács absolutely Crushed it. Jason Moran had a number of funky and stellar moments. Sokratis Sinopoulos channeled Lloyd's ethereal sensibilities perfectly. And Eric Harland is a beast of an accompanist. 
  • The band consists of Lloyd 'vets,' but its performance felt like a series of floating spotlights. The first half of the night's material had a cohesive texture with no one personality really dominating; the performance felt in service of the songwriting. The back half switched to more conventional rhythms and modes, which offered space for individual players to leap to life. The night felt like an old school music revue with the material serving as a foundation for individuals to show and prove.
  • New York crowds continue to un-impress. At least a third of the crowd gave a polite O at the end of the main course, then promptly bounced. Wasn't even five minutes before the group sat back down to play an encore, yet folks were still walking out.
  • And, yes, he closed with "Sombrero Sam." Aren't you tired of that joint, Chuck? Thank goodness he continues to abstract it further and further. It's such an oddly, funky mutant now.
Brother Charles' new record Wild Man Dance is out now.

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