Charles Lloyd Chapel Trio
with Bill Frisell & Thomas Morgan
Halfway through his ninth decade Charles Lloyd remains a seeker, an artist that uses his various reed instruments as vessels for exploration. He has experienced several lifetimes in music: musical director in Chico Hamilton’s quintet in the early 1960s; crossover post-bop star of the 60s counterculture (when his band included Jack DeJohnette and Keith Jarrett); a meditation advocate so rigorous that he stepped aside from music for much of the 1970s; a comeback figure of the 1980s fueled by contemplative partnerships with top-notch European improvisers; and a veteran master who’s reimagined his early Memphis roots within a gorgeously lyric practice that lovingly twirls together nearly every stylistic thread in his long career.
Guitarist Bill Frisell has been an integral part of Lloyd’s last decade of music-making, his gauzy tone and airy timbre the perfect foil for the reedist’s rangy excursions, whether braiding lines within sensitive balladry or playing behind singers like Lucinda Williams or Willie Nelson. The Chapel Trio, named for a riveting concert the group played at Coates Chapel in San Antonio, Texas in December of 2018, also features the sublime bassist Thomas Morgan, a steady partner of Frisell over the last decade and one of the most in-demand figures on the New York Scene.
The aching beauty of that initial concert was memorialized on the recent Blue Note album Trios: Chapel where their preternatural rapport can’t be reduced to words. The music sparkles with an almost weightless grace and patience. Lloyd, Frisell, and Morgan engage in a sonic ballet, sculpting spontaneous counterpoint, offering feather stroke shading, and displaying a vulnerability that can only come from deep trust.