Charles Lloyd & The Marvels – Tone Poet (2021) Day 5 of FV’s 12 Days of Christmas


Charles Lloyd & The Marvels gifted us a new album in 2021, and it’s an inspired one too.  The Marvels are a piano-less ensemble with two guitarists – Bill Frisell plays the standard six-string, and Greg Leisz plays the pedal steel.  This makes for some interesting arrangements, especially on tunes where you’d expect to hear a piano, like um, Monk’s Mood.  The guitars manage to fill in a lot of the empty space where those 88 keys would be.  Sometimes Frisell flips the tremolo switch on his amplifier and treats us to vibraphone-like textures.  Charles Lloyd is sort of an elder statesman at this point and it’s great to hear him making this kind of joyful music. The two opening Ornette Coleman cuts, for example, especially “Ramblin,'” earns the adjective “rollicking” from me.  It injects some NOLA second-line funk into the rhythmic structure and has some of the best interplay between the musicians of any of the tunes here.  It’s followed by a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” that probably shouldn’t work nearly as well as it does, albeit maybe a bit too sweetly reverent.  It’s tempting to contrast this simple but elegant record with a very different 2021 release from another elder statesman and true giant: Pharoah Sanders’s “Promises,”a collaboration with composer and electronic knob-twiddler Floating Points, which was a lovely surprise of this year.  But whereas that album is densely textured and pensive, maybe even somber at times, and feels like Winter, or a musical reflection on the closing years of a long and fruitful life, “Tone Poem” is light and buoyant, feels like Spring, and makes me think or at least hope that Charles Lloyd & the Marvels still have a lot of music left to make together.

A1 – Peace (03:15)
A2 – Ramblin’ (05:01)
A3 – Anthem (06:22)
B1 – Dismal Swamp (06:31)
B2 – Tone Poem (09:08)
C1 – Monk’s Mood (10:30)
C2 – Ay Amor (Live) (10:09)
D1 – Lady Gabor (10:53)
D2 – Prayer (08:42)

Total length: 01:10:31

More information:

Alto Flute – Charles Lloyd (tracks: B1)
Bass – Reuben Rogers
Design, Photography By – Dorothy Darr
Drums – Eric Harland
Guitar – Bill Frisell
Lacquer Cut By – JH*, KPG*
Layout – Meat And Potatoes, Inc.
Liner Notes – CL*
Management – Dorothy Darr, Forest Farm Music + Art
Management [Proudly Presented By The Blue Note/Capitol Team] – Alex Anastasi, Cem Kurosman, Don Was, Eduardo Ribeiro (2), Francisco Marmol, Joshua Kamzan, Justin Seltzer, Melissa Cohen, Rachel Jones (7)
Mastered By – Kevin Gray
Mixed By – Michael C. Ross
Producer [Produced By] – Charles Lloyd, Dorothy Darr
Recorded By – Adam Camardella (tracks: C2), Dom Camardella (tracks: D2), Michael C. Ross (tracks: A1 to C1, D1)
Steel Guitar – Greg Leisz
Supervised By [Supervision: Tone Poet] – Joe Harley
Tenor Saxophone – Charles Lloyd (tracks: A1 to A3, B2 to D2)

LINEAGE: 2021 Blue Note B003313501; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica Signet TK7E cartridge; Speedbox power supply; Creek Audio OBH-15; Audioquest Black Mamba and Pangea Premier interconnect cables; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; clicks and pops removed manually with Adobe Audition 3.0; resampled and dithered using iZotope RX Advanced. Converted to FLAC in either Trader’s Little Helper or dBPoweramp. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.


All resolutions: 16/44, 24/96, 24/192


password: vibes

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  1. Charles Lloyd is a treasure and Bill Frisell always seems to turn up on great and interesting projects. Can’t wait to hear this. Thank you Dr. V!

  2. Got a chance to listen and I like this album a lot. Recommended to those on the fence.

  3. Hi for some reason part 2 of the 4 part high res archive is down. It’s the only one of the links that’s broken.

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