WHEN CHARLES LLOYD WAS A TEENAGER IN 1950s Memphis, he played saxophone in a jazz and R&B band that crossed the Mississippi River to play the all-night roadhouses in West Memphis, Arkansas. Those clubs presented white country bands in the afternoons, and the ever-inquisitive Lloyd often checked them out. He was soon captivated by the sound of the steel guitar, an instrument that could slide through microtones like a trombone, squeal like a trumpet, and sizzle like an electric guitar. Ultimately, though, it sounded like nothing in the jazz world.

He was further fascinated by Al Vescovo, the steel player for the Snearly Ranch Boys who collected Art Tatum and Duke Ellington records and often hung around after his gig to hear Lloyd play Lester Young licks. The two adolescents got together to play and explore the possibilities of the steel guitar in a jazz context. But it was not to be.

“The neighbors came to my mom,” Lloyd remembers, “and said, ‘What’s with this white boy coming around?’ They thought I was punking out. So we had to stop getting together, but it was never about that; it was always about the music. Al knew there was more to music than those three or four chords, and he wanted to climb up on the rooftop where I was. Though Al and I weren’t able to keep playing together, I never lost that dream of playing jazz with a steel guitarist. You have these dreams, and across the decades they can come true. And they did, when I met Greg.”

He’s referring to Greg Leisz, the pedal steel guitarist that Lloyd met through Bill Frisell. The saxophonist was so excited by the combination of instruments that he formed a new band, Charles Lloyd & the

Stai leggendo un'anteprima, registrati per continuare a leggere.

Altro da JazzTimes

JazzTimes1 min letti
Blackbirds Verve No argument here if you thought Things Have Changed, Bettye LaVette’s 2018 tribute to Bob Dylan, deserved its two Grammy nominations, and perhaps even a mantle-size trophy to boot. Still, for all its merits, that album is no match fo
JazzTimes3 min letti
Braxton and Beyond
In homage to Anthony Braxton, the collective of five New England Conservatory graduates called Tropos titled their debut release on Biophilia Records Axioms // 75ab. Besides acknowledging the saxophonist/composer’s 75th birthday this past June, and r
JazzTimes2 min letti
We Insist
Sixty-one years ago this August, Miles Davis was brutally attacked by white policemen on 52nd Street in New York for the crime of standing outside the club where he was working while being confident, well-dressed, and Black (and possibly for having t