Music Monday: Charles Lloyd, Zakir Hussain, and Thanksgiving Music

This week is a great music week for me. I usually take Thanksgiving to do a deep dive into a recording or an artist. I don’t necessarily have anything planned right now (although I have some ideas, which I’ll share at the end of this post).

In the meantime, I was pretty excited to listen to the entire trilogy of Charles Lloyd’s “Trios” project on Sunday morning. Charles Lloyd is a long-time favorite in our household in part because his recorded output produced over a half-century of work embodies such a wide range of moods, styles, instruments, and situations. Friday saw the release of the final of the three “Trios” album which he had released over the course of this year. Sacred Thread features Lloyd alongside Zakir Hussain and Julian Lage. The other two albums, Ocean (feat. Gerald Clayton and Anthony Wilson) and Chapel (feat. Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan) are gorgeous and at times stirring meditations, but Sacred Thread to me feels the most special and the most spiritually moving.

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While Lloyd’s and Lage’s playing is consistently good and gently provocative, Hussain’s tabla and vocals just do it for me. They create a new sense of space and texture for Lloyd and Lage to work. More than that, Hussain’s contribution reminded me of his earlier collaboration with Lloyd, the joyous and otherworldly Sangam (2006). If I could share this album with you, I would, but I can’t find a sharable copy (it’s from ECM so it’s available on most streaming services).

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(To quick confessions: I am not a world music guy really. So perhaps the relative exoticism of Hussain’s ethereal vocals and tabla is what moved me. I’ll also admit that Bill Frisell’s guitar does nothing for me.)

I made a playlist of the trilogy of Trios and look forward to listening to them this winter.

As for my Thanksgiving listening, I have some thinking to do. I realize that at some point in the past, playing the entire Atlantic catalogue pushed my partner’s patience with improvised music. So I probably can’t listen to Albert Ayler’s Revelations: The Complete ORTF 1970 Fondation Maeght Recordings (2022). Last Thanksgiving, I listened to the entire recording of Lee Morgan’s Live at the Lighthouse sessions (with commentary). That was a bit more appreciated. 

I’m thinking perhaps that I should listen to Keith Jarrett at the Blue Note: The Complete Recordings (2000)? It’s a solid 7 hours of quality music! I could also be tempted to take a might swing through William Parker’s epic, Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World (2020). 

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