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Tue, 03.15.1938

Charles Lloyd, Musician born

Charles Lloyd

*Charles Lloyd was born on this date in 1938.  He is a Black jazz musician and composer.

Lloyd grew up in Memphis and was exposed to blues, gospel, and jazz. He is of African, Cherokee, Mongolian, and Irish ancestry. He was given his first saxophone at the age of 9 and was fascinated by 1940s radio broadcasts by Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Billie Holiday, and Duke Ellington. His early teachers included pianist Phineas Newborn, Jr. and saxophonist Irvin Reason. His closest childhood friend was trumpeter Booker Little. As a teenager, Lloyd played jazz with saxophonists George Coleman, Harold Mabern, and Frank Strozier and was a sideman for Johnny Ace, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Howlin' Wolf, and B.B. King.

In 1956, Lloyd left Memphis for Los Angeles to earn a degree in music at the University of Southern California, where he studied with Halsey Stevens, whose specialty was Bartók. At night, he played in jazz clubs with Ornette Coleman, Billy Higgins, Scott LaFaro, Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, Eric Dolphy, Bobby Hutcherson, and other leading West Coast jazz artists. He also was a member of the Gerald Wilson big band.  In 1960, he was invited to become music director of Chico Hamilton's group when Eric Dolphy left to join Charles Mingus's band. The Hungarian guitarist Gábor Szabó and bassist [[Albert Stinson|Albert "Sparky" Stinson] also Trombonist Charles Bohanan] soon joined Lloyd in the band. Hamilton's albums on Impulse, Passin' Thru, and Man from Two Worlds featured music arranged and written almost entirely by Lloyd. He collaborated with Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji, with whom he played when he wasn't on the road with Hamilton.

He joined the Cannonball Adderley Sextet in 1964 and performed with Nat Adderley, Joe Zawinul, Sam Jones, and Louis Hayes. For two years, he remained with Cannonball Adderley, whom he credits in his own development as a leader.  1964, Lloyd signed with CBS Records and began to record as a leader. His Columbia recordings, Discovery! (1964), and Of Course, Of Course (1965), featured Roy Haynes and Tony Williams on drums, Richard Davis and Ron Carter on bass, Gabor Szabo on guitar, and Don Friedman on piano, and led to his being voted Down Beat magazine's "New Star." Of Course, Of Course was reissued on Mosaic Records in 2006.  Lloyd left Cannonball Adderley in 1965 to form his own quartet, which included pianist Keith Jarrett, drummer Jack DeJohnette, and bassist Cecil McBee. Their first release together was a studio recording, Dream Weaver, followed by Forest Flower: Live at Monterey (1966). Forest Flower was one of the first jazz recordings to sell a million copies, becoming a crossover success with airplay on FM radio.  Lloyd's Quartet was the first jazz group to appear at the Fillmore West Auditorium in San Francisco, where they recorded Love-In (1967). The quartet fused improvisation, avant-garde, and free jazz with the psychedelic rock of the 1960s.

Lloyd was invited to play with pop and rock acts such as the Doors, the Byrds, Aashish and Pranesh Khan, and the Beach Boys. Miles Davis and other jazz figures were influenced. The Quartet also shared billing with Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Cream, the Grateful Dead, and Jefferson Airplane.  Lloyd is known for anticipating world music by incorporating melodies from other cultures into his compositions as early as the late 1950s. He describes his music as having "danced on many shores."  In 1967, Lloyd was voted "Jazz Artist of the Year" by Down Beat magazine, and the Quartet was invited to tour the world.

The Lloyd Quartet found a warm reception in Europe at the new jazz festivals in Montreux, Antibes, and Molde. Its performances in the Far East, the Soviet Union, and the Eastern Bloc nations of Europe often marked the first time these audiences had heard an American jazz group live.  Also, in 1967, his Quartet became the first jazz group from the U.S. to play in the USSR by invitation of the Soviet people rather than through government sponsorship.  Its first stop was Tallinn, and subsequent concerts occurred in Leningrad and Moscow.  Notwithstanding, he recorded several jazz albums during the 1970s and occasionally appeared as a sideman; he played extensively with the Beach Boys on their studio recordings and as a touring band member. He was a member of Celebration, a band composed of members of the Beach Boys touring band as well as Mike Love and Al Jardine. Celebration released two albums.

Lloyd returned to the jazz world in 1981 when he toured with Michel Petrucciani. The group produced a special edition cassette, Night Blooming Jasmine, and two live records, Montreux 82 and A Night in Copenhagen, featuring Bobby McFerrin. After the tour, Lloyd again retreated to Big Sur.  In 1986, after being hospitalized with a nearly fatal medical condition, Lloyd rededicated himself to music. When he regained his strength in 1988, he formed a new quartet with Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson. When Lloyd returned to the Montreux Festival in 1988, Swiss critic Yvan Ischer wrote: "To see and hear Charles Lloyd in concert is always an event, not only because this saxophonist has been at quite a few crossroads, but also because he seems to hold an impalpable truth which makes him a thoroughly original musician...This is what we call grace." 

1989, Lloyd made his first recording for ECM Records, Fish Out of Water.  From 1989, Lloyd toured and recorded for ECM. Noteworthy albums include CantoVoice in the NightThe Water Is Wide (featuring Brad Mehldau, John Abercrombie, Larry Grenadier, and Billy Higgins), Lift Every Voice (featuring Geri Allen), and the live Rabo de Nube (with Jason Moran). Mirror, his second recording with the New Quartet (2010), was called a "Charles Lloyd classic”.  He collaborated with the classical Greek singer Maria Farantouri for a concert at the Herodion Theater at the Acropolis.  This concert was recorded, and the Athens Concert was released by ECM in 2011.  In 2013, Lloyd celebrated his 75th birthday with concerts in the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum and the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.

He was the Honoree at the 2014 Monterey Jazz Festival Jazz Legends Gala, hosted by Herbie Hancock, and recipient of the 2014 Alfa Jazz Fest International Music Award. In 2015, Lloyd received the NEA Jazz Masters Award.  In 2015, Lloyd had signed with Blue Note Records. Wild Man Dance, a live recording of a long-form suite commissioned by the Jazztopad Festival in Wroclaw, Poland, was subsequently released.  Also, that year, Lloyd was presented with an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the Berklee College of Music in a ceremony at the Umbria Jazz Festival.  In 2016, he was inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.  Though he primarily plays tenor saxophone and flute, he has occasionally recorded on other reed instruments, including alto saxophone and the Hungarian tárogató.  His working band since 2007 features pianist Jason Moran, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Eric Harland.  Charles Lloyd lives in Southern California with his wife, Dorothy Darr.

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