May 27, 2024

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Charles Lloyd marks 80th birthday with new Blue Note album: Video

US jazz saxophone legend Charles Lloyd celebrates his 80th birthday on 15 March 2018, and will mark the milestone with a series of special concerts, residencies, festival performances, and the release of a new album for Blue Note Records this summer.

The label says “the NEA Jazz Master is entering his ninth decade at a creative peak in what now stands as a mountainous and formidable career, continuing his lifelong artistic journey to explore the spiritual realms of wonder and beauty”.

His special birthday concerts include a four-night residency at The Dakota club in Minneapolis featuring his band The Marvels on 8-11 March, a one-off special with dozens of star guests in his home town of Santa Barbara, California on 15 March itself, and festival appearances at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Playboy Festival and he is the Artist In Residence at the Newport Jazz Festival.

Lloyd was born in in 1938 in Memphis, Tennessee, where he apprenticed with jazz and blues legends including Phineas Newborn, Howlin’ Wolf, and B.B. King. While attending the University of Southern California in the late-1950s, Lloyd performed with prominent artists on the Los Angeles jazz scene including Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, Charlie Haden, Billy Higgins, and Gerald Wilson. In 1960, Lloyd became the music director in the Chico Hamilton Quintet, and later joined the Cannonball Adderley Sextet for a two-year stint before leaving to focus on his own career as a leader.

Lloyd signed with Columbia and released his debut album ‘Discovery!’ in 1964. In 1965 he formed his first great Quartet with a young pianist named Keith Jarrett along with bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Jack DeJohnette. The Quartet’s first album Dream Weaver for Atlantic was followed by Forest Flower: Live at Monterey in 1967, a wildly successful album that became one of the first million-sellers in jazz and catapulted Lloyd to international fame.

When Don Was became head of Blue Note in 2011, he invited Lloyd to record for the label. Lloyd ultimately accepted the invitation, with a mission in mind: “I want to stretch my wings wider and find new thermals to soar on. It is all a continuation of my search and service in sound.”

Lloyd’s life story was told in the 2014 documentary ‘Arrows Into Infinity’. He was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2015, and received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music. In 2016, Lloyd was inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.

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