Tenor saxophone titan Charles Lloyd has been hailed as one of the most restlessly inventive musicians in jazz history. His current quartet - with Jason Moran, piano; Reuben Rogers, bass; and Eric Harland, drums - was honored as the 2011 #1 Acoustic Group" by the JazzTimes critics poll. Follow the career of Charles Lloyd," said The New York Times, and you see a map of great jazz across half a century."
In celebration of his 75th birthday - on the actual day - Charles Lloyd performs a program that marshals the creativity of his quartet, special guest singer Maria Farantouri, Sokratis Sinopoulos on lyra, and singer Alicia Hall Moran in music that ranges from Byzantine hymns to 21st century jazz.
To coincide with the milestone birthday, ECM Records is releasing two recordings: Hagar's Song, a new duo recording with Lloyd and Jason Moran (February 26), and Quartets, a five-disc reissue box set of Lloyd's first five ECM albums (April 2).
Revered in her native Greece, Farantouri was the legendary voice of resistance during the Greek military junta of the late 1960s, giving hope to millions through the banned protest songs of Mikis Theodorakis and earning widespread praise as the soul of Greece."
A concert by Lloyd and Farantouri performed at the foot of the Acropolis in 2010 (with Moran, Rogers, Harland, Sinopoulos, and pianist Takis Farazis) was released as an ECM disc, Athens Concert, in 2011 - suites of traditional Greek music, songs of Theodorakis and Eleni Karaindrou, and Lloyd originals.
Lloyd writes in his liner notes about first hearing Farantouri: From her first notes I felt such a power and depth of humanity; she is a modern wonder rising up from the ruins of civilization. She is Alethea, Athena, Aphrodite, Demeter, Gaia, Phemonoe - Mother of the Universe. The resonance of her voice stirred the memory of my love for Lady Day."
For me," says Farantouri, it was an aesthetic pleasure to work with Charles, becoming a unique experience on stage, as jazz music blended with the musical tradition of Greece, and transformed it into a wholly new sound."