Charles Lloyd Quartet
Rather than the electrified two-guitar quintet he calls the Marvels, the saxophonist CharlesLloyd brought his traditional quartet to the Portland Jazz Festival.
They played a memorable concert. Supported by players decades younger, the 77-year-old Lloyd opened with a section of his “Ruminations” suite. His tone, which is both light and powerful, gave wing to inventions suggesting that he might have been ruminating about John Coltrane, Igor Stravinsky and Claude Debussy. As usual, Lloyd did not announce the names of the pieces he played and, as is his custom, said not one word to the audience. Words were unnecessary except, perhaps, to satisfy curiosity about the repertoire. Post-concert inquiries disclosed that the next piece was “Flying Over The Odra Valley” and the one after that was “Gardner,” which had a minor key, almost eastern European cast about it. Then came “Nu Blues,” in which Lloyd’s Memphis musical upbringing and roots were movingly on display.
Lloyd’s interest in the work of his sidemen led him to move into the curve of the piano when Gerald Clayton was soloing and listen intently, as if he was memorizing the notes. Sometimes bobbing or swaying in place, Lloyd gave bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Eric Harland (pictured left) the same close attention. The quartet’s unity was remarkable through the traditional Mexican song “La Llorona” and three parts of The Wild Man Suite, which they recently recorded. All three of the sidemen soloed extensively, inspiring extended applause. For the encore, Lloyd made a medley of Preston and Fisher’s “You Are So Beautiful” and Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday,” and gave them a spiritual connection. He and his young colleagues got a standing ovation that was even longer than the Portland audience’s customary standing ovations.
With decades in the jazz mainstream and the avant-garde behind him, the 80-year-old bassist Gary Peacock is at the helm of a trio that blends elements of both genres. He may be best known as a member of Keith Jarrett’s trio, but Peacock’s resume includes work with artists as diverse as Bud Shank, Bill Evans, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, Ralph Towner and Paul Bley.
Peacock Baron Copland
Peacock, pianist Marc Copland and drummer Joey Baron began their Portland concert with “Estate” (Italian for “Summer) which, with recordings by Shirley Horn, Peggy Lee and Joao Gilberto, has become a standard. Peacock tightly integrated his opening solo with the contrasting pop and snap of Baron’s drumming and the smoothness of Copland’s accompaniment. Endlessly energetic and inventive, Baron spread a blanket of cymbal, mallet and brush strokes for a riff-like Peacock bass pattern that set up “Footprints,” the Wayne Shorter piece played by several bands at this festival. Peacock maintained his bass pattern for Copland’s solo. Baron continued to sculpt patterns of his own that continued during the virtuoso Peacock solo that followed Copland’s. Baron switched from brushes to sticks for a melodic solo that included a deftly placed “Salt Peanuts” quote that brought smiles from his colleagues and chuckles in the audience.
In Copland’s original composition “Time Was,” Baron’s liquid brushwork was a highlight. The trio’s interaction and the rapt attention they paid to one another during Copland’s “Moor” inspired a one-word declaration from a woman seated near me. “Dialogue,” she said. It was an apt summation of their approach. Later in the set, the communication in a piece that was either “Solar” or was based on it reached a level of communication that amounted to a sensitively attuned musical conversation.