The December 1999 sessions that produced The Water Is Wide yielded enough material for a second album. Hyperion With Higgins is the result, and its title reflects the sad fact that Billy Higgins, Lloyd's friend and soul mate and the session's drummer, passed away not long after the music was put to tape. The music's spiritual quality is heightened by the after-the-fact dedication. Quite unlike The Water Is Wide, Hyperion With Higgins is comprised entirely of Lloyd's original compositions, although the same lineup is featured: Lloyd, Higgins, John Abercrombie, Brad Mehldau, and Larry Grenadier.
Saxophonist Charles Lloyd has been working with guitarists periodically since the 1950s: Calvin Newborn, Gabor Szabo, John Abercrombie, and others have played in his bands. On I Long to See You, he (with his stellar rhythm section – bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland) renews that relationship with two gifted players: Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz (the latter on lap and pedal steel). This program yields folk and spiritual songs, re-recordings of Lloyd's own tunes, a pop nugget, and a new original. In what feels like the input from the label, there are two guest vocal appearances to boot: Willie Nelson beautifully delivers Ed McCurdy's antiwar classic "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream," and Norah Jones.
Reissue with latest 2014 DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. Nirvana is lovely work from Charles Lloyd – recorded at the point when he was just pushing off from Chico Hamilton's group, and before he got too noodly for his own good! Side one of the record features Lloyd with his own group – jazzing it up in a mix of flute, guitar, and percussion on a number of short tracks that have a light and breezy feel. There's a nice dose of bossa in the set, plus some of the other freer rhythmic styles that Lloyd and Hamilton experimented with together at the time – but all of the tracks have a strong rhythmic pulse, and never lose their groove for too much experimentation. Side two features two wonderful tracks with Hamilton's group at a point when Lloyd was still working with the ensemble – both long tracks with a modal pulse and a great deal of spirituality – again free, but never too much so! A nice little album – with tracks that include "Island Blues", "Carcara", "Long Time Baby", "One For Joan", and "Freedom Traveler".
Saxophonist Charles Lloyd is a forward-thinking musician's musician whose supreme improvisational talents and interest in cross-pollinating jazz with rock as well as non-Western styles of music during the '60s and '70s established him as one of the key figures in the development of fusion and world music.