Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Water Is Wide (Shm-CD)
Charles Lloyd was on a roll in the 1990s, each new CD offering some small surprises. On his new 2000 release, The Water Is Wide, Lloyd boasts a great lineup. Guitarist John Abercrombie and drummer Billy Higgins are back fr... more »
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Charles Lloyd was on a roll in the 1990s, each new CD offering some small surprises. On his new 2000 release, The Water Is Wide, Lloyd boasts a great lineup. Guitarist John Abercrombie and drummer Billy Higgins are back from Lloyd's Voice in the Night, but they are joined here by Brad Mehldau and the pianist's regular bassist, Larry Grenadier. The choice of material is also something of a surprise--Ellingtonia, such as "Black Butterfly," "Heaven," and "Lotus Blossom," the Scots folk song "The Water is Wide," Hoagy Carmichael's "Georgia," and several appealing Lloyd originals. The mood throughout is meditative, gentle, and carefully considered. Lloyd's tenor is sometimes sensuous, sometimes stark, Mehldau and Abercrombie matching him with minimalist but elegant support. Only on "There is a Balm in Gilead" does the tempo increase, and only on Cecil McBee's composition "Song of Her" does an arrangement become obvious. Yet this is music of great charm, made more so by its understatement and the delicacy of Lloyd's phrasing and the distinctiveness of his tone. Records like this used to come from Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster, but there aren't many saxophonists today who could pull off something so straightforward and unpretentious. --John F. Szwed
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JD Cetola | Omaha, NE USA | 12/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Charles Lloyd's superb 1999 recording (the first of two releases from these December 1999 sessions, the other, "Hyperion with Higgins" is equally engaging) includes an all-star cast and is simply sensational. Joined by the excellent Brad Mehldau on piano, Larry Grenadier on double-bass, John Abercrombie on guitar, and the late, great Billy Higgins on drums, Lloyd and company pour out their hearts and souls to deliver some of the most beautiful music from a quintet of this kind you will ever hear.Beginning with a gorgeous rendition of Hoagy Carmichael's "Georgia", the listener immediately knows what to expect from this album--sparse, melodic beauty. And it's captivating and engaging from start to finish. "The Water is Wide" is poetic and moving with Abercrombie offering just the right notes at the right time. Lloyd is inspired throughout and Mehldau's playing is typically melodic. Higgins keeps things moving and Grenadier is as steady as ever. The Ellington ("Black Butterfly" and "Heaven") and Strayhorn ("Lotus Blossom") tunes are highlights as is the haunting Lloyd/Mehldau sparing match in "The Monk and the Mermaid". In fact, the entire disc is essentially one highlight after another with no missteps to be found. Abercrombie is particularly engaging when he appears ("Figure in Blue", a Lloyd original is terrific), Lloyd's playing is trance-inducing, and these players seem to revel in the making of these inspired, often-spiritual melodies. By the time you get to the closing hymn, "Prayer", you will be praying for more music of this ethereal beauty. And thankfully, "Hyperion with Higgins" is sitting right beside "The Water is Wide" on the cd shelf. "The Water is Wide" is one of the most sublime and stunningly beautiful cds I have heard in recent years. These musicians represent several generations of jazz mastery and together have made of cd worthy of their stature. Very Highly Recommended."
Jane Bialosky | Boone, NC | 12/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"WATER IS WIDE CHARLES LLOYDBeauty is rare today, but when it is achieved it elevates us all. Water Is Wide is beautiful and its effects sublime. It awakens our silenced-longing for perfection. If you don't know jazz, but your heart soars with Puccini, alight here for it is as pure and simple. If you have no ear for music, but when the sky is bleak your mind returns to Wordsworth's spring, this too is poetry. If you don't have time for art, arrest your work this once. In Lloyd's measured line and economy of expression, you will find a profitable lesson.Water Is Wide is a collection of ancient ballads, eternal truth composed long ago or now. The surprise is that no matter how far away you thought you were, the music is you. It comes from inside like the thread from the spool. It is meltingly intimate, unnerving in its candor. It is you alone and everyone. Lloyd slides, Higgins glides words between the lines, dancers from the corner of one's eye, and the sound permeates the mind soft as a night blooming fragrance. Abercrombie and Lloyd intertwine like a creeper and tree. Each pairing, Abercrombie and Lloyd, Mahldau and Lloyd, has the precision and courtly neatness of a double helix, nature's quintessential intelligence. The album fairly scintillates with rarefied intelligence, but what we see is loveliness. It is lovely in every gesture and flow. It is every noble emotion so tenderly and subtly addressed, our own experience with life is made more true and universal. If we listen to the ballads with our hearts there is a poignancy that quickens conscience. When we listen from our inmost self, there is silent rapture.The compositions are so tightly integrated and the layering of voices so unerringly smooth and balanced that it is more a symphonic work than a compilation. It is as if it progressed in polished movements. There is a profound unity, the ocean in every drop. The restraint is more than minimalist; it is reverential. Even in the rise and swell it is a quiet and inward passion, and luminous, serene."Georgia" is mellow, suave, and classic. Each stroke is as intentional as the characters in a Chinese scroll. It is quiet, quieter, and quieter still, refining our perception. Grenadier and Higgins are sound on silence, white on lighter white progressing. Our senses awaken to the most delicate impulse and gradation. Right from the start Lloyd has orchestrated our way of listening so that, silent too, we will be able to discern and appreciate the subtlety in every subtle variation. This first interchange between Lloyd and Mehldau, piano, sets the tone that is, remarkably, sustained throughout. It is fluid, cursive, spare, and in its perfect sufficiency, most telling. "Water is Wide" is gorgeous. Lloyd and Abercrombie weave magic in the closeness of their sounds. The melody is luscious, pregnant with the promise of its poetic words. Grenadier and Higgins run as steady as a deep current. Higgins' command of time is always so inexorable, it is as if he were only giving voice to the rhythm already inherent in nature. The rhythmic precision of the entire ensemble has in every piece, burnished the music to a high, lyric intensity.Lloyd's own compositions are as evocative as Debussy's, and they have the same sense of space. Lloyd has a genius for unfolding the potential of silence and emptiness. "Ballade and Allegro" in its flow and intimations is most subtly complex. Lady Day has the dignity of homage. "The Monk and the Mermaid" is extraordinary. It bends sound as water bends light. In the diffraction we see how waves of sound emerge then interact. It is a monk's witnessing of the play and display. "Figure in Blue" is tropic island Lloyd, warm, sweet as summer fruit, and as playful as only someone who can be immensely serious has the finesse to be. It is a tender wild."There Is a Balm in Gilead" is an outpouring of the deep love between Higgins and Lloyd, their complete knowledge of each other, and their combined lifetimes of knowing music. Higgins has the power of Zeus, commanding the thunder and the rain, and the weather of our emotions. Lloyd's tone is honeyed, amber. "Balm" is both exultant and solemn. "Prayer" is the song of God. It is suffused with love. Abercrombie and Lloyd sing out its beautiful melody, but all of these masterful musicians, almost indistinguishable in their union, have been wholeness reverberating. "Prayer" sums up The Water Is Wide. It is not so much a supplication as a benediction.The Water Is Wide is a work of great worth. I can only commend it to your attention with the strongest conviction."
H20 For The Soul
Richard Thurston | 08/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the most original minds in jazz teams with master drummer Billy Higgins (an old friend & collaborator) and two men half their age -- Brad Mehldau and Larry Grenadier. And if that's not enough to float your boat, John Abercrombie's on board too. Lloyd's known as a prolific composer but here the tenor saxophonist plays a lot of other people's ballads, covering Hoagie Carmichael's "Georgia" a whole lot of Ellington and the celtic folk song "The Water Is Wide." Even when he's covering, he sounds like only Lloyd can -- tuned into something deep and wild and joyful."