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Charles Lloyd|The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow

The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow

Charles Lloyd

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Among the major tenor saxophonists of the last 75 years, Charles Lloyd has always stood apart. Most of his peers were based in New York but Lloyd, a Memphis native, often worked out of the West Coast.  He frequently collaborated with rock musicians in the 1960s and 1970s, including the Beach Boys, the Doors, Roger McGuinn, and others; at the time, it was uncommon for an important jazz figure to have such close ties to the rock scene.  Those associations reveal an artist open to new sounds as he follows his own path.

Decades later, the octogenarian continues to be a singular force, and on the excellent 2024 release, The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow, he leads a stellar new band: pianist Jason Moran, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Brian Blade. Lloyd revisits older material with fresh ears, and the double album also includes six new compositions along with versions of the spiritual, "Balm in Gilead," and J. Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson's hymn, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

On the opener, "Defiant, Tender Warrior," which features an arrangement by Lloyd and Moran, Blade deftly deploys rumble, clatter, and hiss to create a foundation and an enveloping atmosphere. Lloyd's fluttering high notes, just-so breathiness, and speedy note-flurries sensitively play off Moran's take on the piece's tender melody. 

Lloyd's sole alto sax performance occurs on the title cut, one of the album's new pieces. At first, the track sounds like a loosened-up version of bebop, but soon Moran's dissonant piano changes the vibe. A groove that recalls Keith Jarrett (a former Lloyd sideman), emerges, and a spare, bluesy section follows. Wherever the music goes, the engaged quartet brings it to full flower.

On "Beyond Darkness," Lloyd displays a warm, nicely shaded tone on alto flute. Blade's rolls and cymbal hits, Grenadier's groove, and Moran's impressionistic lines create a gentle pelagic ambience for Lloyd's lyrical explorations. Beyond darkness, indeed, this is wonderfully blissed-out music.

"Defiant, Reprise; Homeward Dove" looks back to the opener. The two tracks perfectly bracket an album that gracefully takes the listener on a journey with Lloyd and his sensitively attuned band. As the last notes sound, there is a sense of a cycle completed.  © Fred Cisterna/Qobuz

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The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow

Charles Lloyd

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1
Defiant, Tender Warrior
00:04:16

Larry Grenadier, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Lloyd, Producer, Arranger, Tenor Saxophone, Work Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dom Camardella, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Moran, Arranger, Piano, Work Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Brian Blade, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Kevin Gray, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rachel Jones, A&R - Joe Harley, Producer, Sound Supervisor - Dorothy Darr, Producer - Traci Fuller, A&R Admin - Nikki Young, A&R Admin

℗ 2024 Charles Lloyd

2
The Lonely One
00:05:45

Larry Grenadier, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Lloyd, Producer, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dom Camardella, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Moran, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Brian Blade, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Kevin Gray, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rachel Jones, A&R - Joe Harley, Producer, Sound Supervisor - Dorothy Darr, Producer - Traci Fuller, A&R Admin - Nikki Young, A&R Admin

℗ 2024 Charles Lloyd

3
Monk’s Dance
00:06:49

Larry Grenadier, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Lloyd, Producer, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dom Camardella, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Moran, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Brian Blade, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Kevin Gray, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rachel Jones, A&R - Joe Harley, Producer - Dorothy Darr, Producer - Traci Fuller, A&R Admin - Nikki Young, A&R Admin

℗ 2024 Charles Lloyd

4
The Water Is Rising
00:05:08

Larry Grenadier, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Lloyd, Producer, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dom Camardella, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Moran, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Brian Blade, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Kevin Gray, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rachel Jones, A&R - Joe Harley, Producer, Sound Supervisor - Dorothy Darr, Producer - Traci Fuller, A&R Admin - Nikki Young, A&R Admin

℗ 2024 Charles Lloyd

5
Late Bloom
00:01:02

Charles Lloyd, Producer, Bass Flute, Alto Flute, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dom Camardella, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kevin Gray, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rachel Jones, A&R - Joe Harley, Producer, Sound Supervisor - Dorothy Darr, Producer - Traci Fuller, A&R Admin - Nikki Young, A&R Admin

℗ 2024 Charles Lloyd

6
Booker’s Garden
00:08:07

Larry Grenadier, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Lloyd, Producer, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dom Camardella, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Moran, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Brian Blade, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Kevin Gray, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rachel Jones, A&R - Joe Harley, Producer, Sound Supervisor - Dorothy Darr, Producer - Traci Fuller, A&R Admin - Nikki Young, A&R Admin

℗ 2024 Charles Lloyd

7
The Ghost of Lady Day
00:06:43

Larry Grenadier, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Lloyd, Producer, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dom Camardella, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Moran, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Brian Blade, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Kevin Gray, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rachel Jones, A&R - Joe Harley, Producer, Sound Supervisor - Dorothy Darr, Producer - Traci Fuller, A&R Admin - Nikki Young, A&R Admin

℗ 2024 Charles Lloyd

8
The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow
00:07:14

Larry Grenadier, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Lloyd, Producer, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dom Camardella, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Moran, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Brian Blade, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Kevin Gray, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rachel Jones, A&R - Joe Harley, Producer, Sound Supervisor - Dorothy Darr, Producer - Traci Fuller, A&R Admin - Nikki Young, A&R Admin

℗ 2024 Charles Lloyd

9
Beyond Darkness
00:07:19

Larry Grenadier, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Lloyd, Composer, Producer, Alto Flute, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Dom Camardella, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Moran, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Brian Blade, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Kevin Gray, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rachel Jones, A&R - Joe Harley, Producer, Sound Supervisor - Dorothy Darr, Producer - Traci Fuller, A&R Admin - Nikki Young, A&R Admin

℗ 2024 Charles Lloyd

10
Sky Valley, Spirit of the Forest
00:15:04

Larry Grenadier, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Lloyd, Producer, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dom Camardella, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Moran, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Brian Blade, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Kevin Gray, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rachel Jones, A&R - Joe Harley, Producer, Sound Supervisor - Dorothy Darr, Producer - Traci Fuller, A&R Admin - Nikki Young, A&R Admin

℗ 2024 Charles Lloyd

11
Balm In Gilead
00:03:06

Traditional, ComposerLyricist - Larry Grenadier, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Lloyd, Producer, Arranger, Tenor Saxophone, Work Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Dom Camardella, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Moran, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Brian Blade, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Kevin Gray, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rachel Jones, A&R - Joe Harley, Producer, Sound Supervisor - Dorothy Darr, Producer - Traci Fuller, A&R Admin - Nikki Young, A&R Admin

℗ 2024 Charles Lloyd

12
Lift Every Voice and Sing
00:02:50

Larry Grenadier, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Lloyd, Producer, Arranger, Tenor Saxophone, Work Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Dom Camardella, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Moran, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Brian Blade, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - J.W. Johnson, ComposerLyricist - J.R. Johnson, ComposerLyricist - Kevin Gray, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rachel Jones, A&R - Joe Harley, Producer, Sound Supervisor - Dorothy Darr, Producer - Traci Fuller, A&R Admin - Nikki Young, A&R Admin

℗ 2024 Charles Lloyd

13
When the Sun Comes Up, Darkness Is Gone
00:03:41

Larry Grenadier, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Lloyd, Producer, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dom Camardella, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Moran, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Brian Blade, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Kevin Gray, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rachel Jones, A&R - Joe Harley, Producer, Sound Supervisor - Dorothy Darr, Producer - Traci Fuller, A&R Admin - Nikki Young, A&R Admin

℗ 2024 Charles Lloyd

14
Cape to Cairo
00:09:15

Larry Grenadier, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Lloyd, Composer, Producer, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Dom Camardella, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Moran, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Brian Blade, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Kevin Gray, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rachel Jones, A&R - Joe Harley, Producer, Sound Supervisor - Dorothy Darr, Producer - Traci Fuller, A&R Admin - Nikki Young, A&R Admin

℗ 2024 Charles Lloyd

15
Defiant, Reprise; Homeward Dove
00:04:20

Larry Grenadier, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Lloyd, Producer, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dom Camardella, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Moran, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Brian Blade, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Kevin Gray, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rachel Jones, A&R - Joe Harley, Producer, Sound Supervisor - Dorothy Darr, Producer - Traci Fuller, A&R Admin - Nikki Young, A&R Admin

℗ 2024 Charles Lloyd

Album review

Among the major tenor saxophonists of the last 75 years, Charles Lloyd has always stood apart. Most of his peers were based in New York but Lloyd, a Memphis native, often worked out of the West Coast.  He frequently collaborated with rock musicians in the 1960s and 1970s, including the Beach Boys, the Doors, Roger McGuinn, and others; at the time, it was uncommon for an important jazz figure to have such close ties to the rock scene.  Those associations reveal an artist open to new sounds as he follows his own path.

Decades later, the octogenarian continues to be a singular force, and on the excellent 2024 release, The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow, he leads a stellar new band: pianist Jason Moran, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Brian Blade. Lloyd revisits older material with fresh ears, and the double album also includes six new compositions along with versions of the spiritual, "Balm in Gilead," and J. Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson's hymn, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

On the opener, "Defiant, Tender Warrior," which features an arrangement by Lloyd and Moran, Blade deftly deploys rumble, clatter, and hiss to create a foundation and an enveloping atmosphere. Lloyd's fluttering high notes, just-so breathiness, and speedy note-flurries sensitively play off Moran's take on the piece's tender melody. 

Lloyd's sole alto sax performance occurs on the title cut, one of the album's new pieces. At first, the track sounds like a loosened-up version of bebop, but soon Moran's dissonant piano changes the vibe. A groove that recalls Keith Jarrett (a former Lloyd sideman), emerges, and a spare, bluesy section follows. Wherever the music goes, the engaged quartet brings it to full flower.

On "Beyond Darkness," Lloyd displays a warm, nicely shaded tone on alto flute. Blade's rolls and cymbal hits, Grenadier's groove, and Moran's impressionistic lines create a gentle pelagic ambience for Lloyd's lyrical explorations. Beyond darkness, indeed, this is wonderfully blissed-out music.

"Defiant, Reprise; Homeward Dove" looks back to the opener. The two tracks perfectly bracket an album that gracefully takes the listener on a journey with Lloyd and his sensitively attuned band. As the last notes sound, there is a sense of a cycle completed.  © Fred Cisterna/Qobuz

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