Charles Lloyd New Quartet, "Passin' Thru" (Blue Note)
At the risk of letting enthusiasm run away with me and turn downright peremptory, get this. What you'll hear here is a 78-year-old jazz musician reaching back to his '60s repertoire to make some of the most passionate and powerful music he's ever made. But first, let's talk about the word "new."
In 2011, one of the great Buffalo jazz performances of this decade in our new century took place when the "New Quartet" of Charles Lloyd came to the auditorium of the Albright-Knox Gallery as part of the Gallery's irreplaceable Art of Jazz series. These performances, on the other hand, are from the summer of last year, from that same magnificent Charles Lloyd Quartet with pianist Jason Moran, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland.
Strictly speaking, then, how "new" are they as a quartet? Call them a "veteran" quartet and a very great one at that. But, if you think epochally, the answer is "new enough." This is a "new" Lloyd Quartet in that it is to be distinguished from previous great Lloyd quartets from other decades which featured such extraordinary pianists as Michel Petrucciani and Keith Jarrett.
This quartet is, without question, one of the greatest touring groups in all of current jazz and the music on this disc will convey why. These are live recordings from the Montreux Jazz Festival of 2016 and an appearance late July in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
It opens with a Montreux Jazz Festival recording of the Coltrane-influenced "Dream Weaver," which first appeared on a Charles Lloyd record in 1966. But the shocker really is that the disc's title comes from a Lloyd composition he first recorded in 1963 with the Chico Hamilton Quintet featuring him and guitarist Gabor Szabo. Here is a contemporary musician making a career proclamation no one could possibly deny.
4 stars (out of four)