Happy Birthday Charles Lloyd

March 15, 1938

A tribute to the great tenor-saxophonist

Tenor-saxophonist and flutist Charles Lloyd was born March 15, 1938 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Lloyd received his first saxophone at age 9, and his childhood teachers included pianist Phineas Newborn, Jr. and saxophonist Irvin Reason.

He studied classical music at USC in Los Angeles and became part of the local scene, playing with Ornette Coleman, Billy Higgins, Eric Dolphy and many others.

Lloyd succeeded Dolphy as a member of the Chico Hamilton Quintet during 1960-63 and also spent a year touring as part of the Cannonball Adderley Sextet.

In 1965 Charles Lloyd formed his own quartet which soon included pianist Keith Jarrett, a group that became very popular and appeared on the same bill as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead.

After becoming the hit of the 1966 Monterey Jazz Festival which resulted in his recording Forest Flower, Lloyd was voted Downbeat’s “Jazz Artist Of The Year.”

He spent much of the 1970s and ‘80s off the scene although he worked a bit with the Beach Boys and made a comeback when pianist Michel Petrucciani persuaded him to form a new quartet.

By 1989, Charles Lloyd was very much back, recording regularly for ECM and leading new groups that were melodic, spiritual and consistently creative.

Here he is in 2016 at a special “Tiny Desk Concert,” playing duets with pianist Jason Moran on “Hagar’s Lullaby,” “Prayer” and “Sand Rhythm.”

-Scott Yanow


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