Charles Lloyd - The Water Is Wide (ECM, 2000)
The soulful expression on The Water Is Wide, or should I be describing it as expressionism [?], lends itself to hint at things that are not present, as much as the things that are. Take for instance the lush and sentimental musical lines laid out on “Lady Day,” a song so altogether unexpected in its presentation, that one can almost hear the ghostly etherial voice of Billie Holiday ebbing into the composition. This was no easy feat to accomplish, and had it not been for Lloyd’s choice of players and the chemistry they were able to establish, none of this might have been possible.
Both drummer Billy Higgins, and guitarist John Abercromie, who were featured on Lloyd’s previous outing Voice In The Night have come to understand the nature and strategy expected here, keenly immersing themselves in an angular attack of style and presence, allowing Lloyd to draw deeply from from his sessions with Coltrane, yet bringing forward a body of emotional material that is wholly original, thoughtful, and infectious. With all of this in place Lloyd is free to apply a low keyed tenor, creating a tonality that’s sincere and intoxicating ... and it works because his warmth is accented without being challenged in a manner that brings about an almost hushed reverence to the music.
This album doesn’t so much entertain the listener as much as it enlightens them, giving forth one of those rare mystic “Ah-ha” moments in jazz.
Review by Jenell Kesler/2016
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