Charles Lloyd, Arrows into Infinity, ECM, DVD/Blu-ray **** RECOMMENDED
A documentary portrait of the great saxophonist produced and directed by Charles Lloyd’s wife Dorothy Darr and by Jeffery Morse, it’s more than affectionate hommage. Packed full of insights, moving moments include when the Japanese Swing Journal magazine editor asks Lloyd about his influences and Lloyd smiles, and says Lester Young, and then we hear Prez playing the most beautiful, tender, version of ‘These Foolish Things’. Sounds simple but visually and aurally it’s dynamite. The section featuring Michel Petrucciani who made the pilgrimage to Big Sur is also very touching. There’s so much here: Robbie Robertson of The Band commenting on how Ornette Coleman and Charles are different offering a fascinating comment that Ornette was a rule breaker whereas Charles didn’t believe there were any rules!
There’s excellent footage of the great group with Jack DeJohnette, Cecil McBee, and Keith Jarrett, Jarrett sounding so inspired. Interviewees besides Robertson include Michael Cuscuna, Herbie Hancock, Jason Moran, and Don Was. We see Charles playing pool with Ornette, live with his current quartet, and playing outdoors years back in the countryside with Jack DeJohnette and in so many other situations including in the former Soviet Union where the man from Memphis became a hero.
Lloyd talks movingly about Billy Higgins and their separate sense of spirituality, his rooted in India, Higgins’ in Islam (“the only thing he asked me was which way is east?” Lloyd quips). The footage with tabla master Zakir Hussain and current Lloyd quartet drummer Eric Harland also connects, Harland getting quite emotional when he talks about the sheer creativity involved in playing with the pair. The river continues to run free.
Released on 28 July in UK/Ireland
Charles Lloyd top, and, above, shooting pool with Ornette Coleman in 2011. Photo: Dorothy Darr
Alan Broadbent who appears tonight at the Sligo Jazz Project in the Hawk's Well theatre with singer Judy Niemack is to release a new limited edition solo piano LP in October. To be titled Just One of Those Things the album features a live concert recorded in Portland, Oregon in 2013.
You're not going to forget a band who call themselves The Sticks, are you? But memorable titles such as ‘Skjaertorsdagsraggare’ might pose more of an issue. Even Google Translate is stumped.
Having got together in the Norwegian city of Trondheim where the album was recorded in March last year, the Sticks are pianist Oscar Grönberg who shows impressive technique in a Jan Johansson-meets-Paul Bley fashion, while bassist Aksel Jensen and drummer Håkon Mjåset Johansen keep with the programme trailing along like a Nordic Peacock and Motian. Listen to ‘Skjaertorsdagsraggare’, above.
Always a pointer to future Nordic currents in jazz and improvised music the Young Nordic Jazz Comets showcase held this year in Finland this autumn features Elena and the Rom Ensemble from Finland itself, with Musik För Hemlösa, the Danish entry pictured above, the sax-bass-drums trio of Signe Emmeluth, Amadeus Wedberg, and Björn Petersson. The Swedish representation is the five-piece Intone, while Norway's band travelling to Helsinki is Krokofant, a guitar-drums-sax trio. The Icelandic band taking part is the quartet Aurora.