Charles Lloyd And The Marvels I Long To See You on 2LP
Debut Album from New Band Founded by Saxophonist/Composer Charles Lloyd featuring Bill Frisell (guitar), Greg Leisz (pedal steel), Reuben Rogers (bass) & Eric Harland (drums)
Includes Guest Vocals by Willie Nelson & Norah Jones
Blue Note presents I Long To See You, the profound new album from Charles Lloyd & The Marvels. The album finds the iconic saxophonist and recent NEA Jazz Master in the company of a new band featuring guitarist Bill Frisell and pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz, along with his longtime quartet members bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland. The album also includes two remarkable guest vocal appearances by Willie Nelson and Norah Jones. All together they have created a sumptuous collection of 10 songs that range from traditional hymns to anti-war folk protests to re-envisioned Lloyd originals from his earlier recordings.
The seed for I Long To See You was planted in 2013 when Charles Lloyd invited Bill Frisell to perform with him at UCLA's Royce Hall. They had met earlier that year when they shared a stage, and Lloyd says, "We made a connection. I knew that we were moving toward the sound. Bill is a great sensitive and very intuitive. When he was a kid in Denver, he told me he was influenced by my first band with Jack DeJohnette and Keith Jarrett. He said that music opened his imagination to a wide spectrum of new possibilities. We don't need to say much when we get together – it's all expressed in the music, in the sound, the feeling."
While Lloyd pondered releasing the live show as his next Blue Note album, his wife, Dorothy Darr, insisted that he head to the studio instead (she serves as a co-producer of the new album with Lloyd and Blue Note president Don Was). As for the inclusion of the singers, Lloyd simply says, "I love the voice." I Long to See You opens with an impassioned reading of Bob Dylan's "Masters of War" about the military-industrial complex arms buildup, and also includes the anti-war song "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream," which is sung here by Willie Nelson with graceful tenor support.
The well-worn song "You Are So Beautiful" (originally written by Billy Preston and made into a hit in 1974 by Joe Cocker) gets a spacious reading here with Norah Jones lending her indelible voice. In addition to the new original "Barche Lamsel," a 16-minute sonic exploration that closes the album, Lloyd and Co. also cover some of the leader's earlier songs, including "Of Course, Of Course," as well as the indelibly melodic "Sombrero Sam" which was first recorded on his 1966 Atlantic album Dream Weaver.
For the traditional vein in the album, Lloyd gives a duende read of the lyrical "La Llorona," which he previously recorded on his 2009 ECM album Mirror. The sobering beauty of "All My Trials," which is based on a Bahamian lullaby but is also associated with the 1960s protest movement, brings a spiritual quality to the album, while the hymn "Abide With Me" features Lloyd's melancholic tenor lead with Frisell shadowing his notes. And Lloyd brilliantly takes on one of the greatest tunes in the traditional American songbook, "Shenandoah," drawing the album's title from the song's yearning lyrics.