Charles Lloyd & the Marvels – Tone Poem
83-year-old saxophonist Charles Lloyd has actually had several careers as a musician. Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, he grew up surrounded by blues, jazz, and gospel musicians, but left Memphis in 1956 to study classical music in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California with noted Bartók specialist Halsey Stevens. He spent his days at USC, but occupied his nights moonlighting with jazz luminaries such as Ornette Coleman, Billy Higgins, Scott LaFaro, Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, Eric Dolphy, and Bobby Hutcherson. And he became a member of Gerald Wilson’s big band – all while earning a degree at USC. Afterwards, he became the musical director for Chico Hamilton’s band, where his musical leanings started moving towards jazz fusion. In 1966, he formed a quartet that featured a 21-year-old Keith Jarrett on piano; their album Forest Flower had cross-cultural appeal, and Lloyd was named Downbeat’s Jazz Artist of the Year in 1967. His music appealed to jazz purists and hippies alike.
In the early seventies, Lloyd virtually dropped out of the jazz scene; he’d become a disciple of transcendental meditation, and he played regularly with the Beach Boys, both in the studio and as a member of their touring ensemble.