Charles Lloyd & The Marvels: Tone Poem (Blue Note) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Charles Lloyd & The Marvels

Tone Poem

Blue Note

Mar 23, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

In the last few years, jazz legend Charles Lloyd has caught a new wind, and has found a comfy niche with his group The Marvels that fits right in with his background of collaborating with everyone from Keith Jarrett to Howlin’ Wolf to The Beach Boys. Guitarist Bill Frisell is an excellent foil for Lloyd, working closely with pedal steel player Greg Leisz to ground his saxophone flights in an Americana-inspired lope that channels Lloyd’s Memphis upbringing. It’s not for nothing that Lucinda Williams collaborated with this crew a couple years back.

The country flourishes do not detract from the group’s jazz rigor. Tone Poem puts any such concerns to rest from the jump with barnstorming takes on two Ornette Coleman classics, “Peace” and “Ramblin.” Later, they waltz into the off-kilter melodies of “Monk’s Mood” like they are a comfortable bathrobe.

Still, while they readily cut the jazz mustard, the album’s greatest strengths lie in The Marvels’ disregard for genre. Lloyd has never shied away from expanding his, and his audience’s, parameters; Tone Poem goes down easy, but its sonic blend is slyly, pleasurably subversive. (www.

Author rating: 7.5/10

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March 24th 2021

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