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Charles Lloyd, the multi-horn mystic returned to Seattle last night, with another another riveting séance. His newest quartet called on brilliant contemporaries Gerald Clayton (piano) and Kendrick Scott (drums) along with veteran bassist Reuben Rogers.

After nearly five decades of utterly uncompromising music-making, saxophonist Charles Lloyd has achieved the status of a living legend. A singular musician who has no stake in nor need for the genre divisions that frequently occupy so much energy in the jazz world, Lloyd is one of the original cross-pollinators, whose explorations are rooted and steeped in the rich jazz and blues scenes of his native Memphis, Tennessee, but whose musical interests have taken him around the world, literally and figuratively.

Born in 1938, Lloyd picked up the sax at age nine, and by the mid-‘60s, had developed into not only a masterful improviser but also a superb composer and arranger. After a stint with Cannonball Adderly’s band, Lloyd formed the first of his many great quartets, with future Miles Davis alums pianist Keith Jarrett and drummer Jack DeJohnette, along with bassist Cecil McBee. Lloyd’s Quartet appeared at the 1966 Monterey Pop Festival, in a legendary performance that resulted in the album Forest Flower, one of the first jazz albums to sell over a million copies. Lloyd’s expansive modal grooves and avant-garde sounds became an integral part of the quickly evolving stylistic integrations of jazz with rock, psychedelic, and non-Western music. Notably, Lloyd did it with an acoustic quartet – he didn’t have to plug in to cross over.

Since 1989 Lloyd has recorded regularly for ECM, which has released an impressive string of superb albums from the busy master. In April, Lloyd returned to Blue Note Records after nearly 30 years for an outstanding live album entitled Wild Man Dance, which also features the pianist in Lloyd’s current Quartet, Gerald Clayton.

Many of Lloyd’s recent albums and finest live work have been with the same piano/bass/drums quartet format that originally brought him global fame, and his Earshot performance will include, along with Clayton, longtime associate Reuben Rogers on bass and the superb Kendrick Scott on drums.

Lloyd has always shown a fearless embrace of the unknown, and he manages to be simultaneously challenging yet warmly communicative and welcoming, deploying a sagely un-ironic affinity for great songs and melodies from any style of music.

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