Iconic jazz artist and 2016 NEA Jazz Master Charles Lloyd returns to the Symphony Center Presents (SCP) Jazz series with a new all-star group at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, April 21, 2017. Lloyd’s band, The Marvels, which features the talents of Bill Frisell (guitar), Greg Leisz (pedal steel guitar), Reuben Rogers (bass) and Eric Harland (drums), released their first album, I Long to See You, in January 2016. Also appearing on the bill is cellist Tomeka Reid with her quartet’s Symphony Center debut. Reid, a rising star hailed as “a melodic improviser with a natural, flowing sense of song” (The New York Times), was named the Chicago Tribune’s 2015 Chicagoan of the Year in Jazz.
The Marvels is comprised of two of Lloyd’s favorite partners, bassist Rogers and drummer Harland, with two great guitarists, Frisell and Leisz. The program features selections from I Long To See You, which explores the rich canonical texts of the great American songbook including "Shenandoah" and Bob Dylan’s "Masters of War" as well as Lloyd classics like "La Llorona" and "Of Course, Of Course." The mood of I Long To See You is celebratory from the start, with Lloyd displaying his knack for threading complex, dynamic musical ideas into the most elemental and open-hearted riffs and melodies.
Lloyd has enjoyed a long and illustrious career starting in the 1950s and has received numerous accolades and awards for his music including becoming a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 2015 and receiving an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music. For over nearly five decades, his compositions have punctuated the post-bop period, embraced the traditional music of a host of world cultures and enlivened the psychedelic 1960s with avant-garde improvisation. Lloyd is credited by many musicians with anticipating the World Music movement by incorporating cadences of many cultures in his compositions as early as the late 1950s. He has performed with such jazz greats as Chico Hamilton, Keith Jarrett, Gabor Szabo, Don Friedman and Brad Mehldau, among others. In 2016, Lloyd was inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.
The evening opens with Chicago-based cellist, composer and educator Tomeka Reid and her quartet featuring guitarist Mary Halvorson, bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Tomas Fujiwara. Reid has performed with Dee Alexander’s Evolution Ensemble, Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble/Strings, Mike Reed’s Loose Assembly and co-leads the string trio Hear in Now. She also performs with Anthony Braxton, Dana Hall, George Lewis, Harrison Bankhead among others. Equally adept in classical and jazz contexts, Reid predominantly finds herself in experimental and improvisatory settings and composes for a wide range of instrumentation, from big band to chamber ensemble.
Tickets for all Symphony Center Presents Jazz series concerts can be purchased by phone at 800-223-7114 or 312-294-3000; online at cso.org, or at the Symphony Center box office: 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604.
2016 NEA Jazz Master Charles Lloyd returns to Symphony Center this spring with an all-star ensemble (photo courtesy of The Kurland Agency).
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts