Passin’ Thru (Blue Note)

Charles Lloyd New Quartet

Released July 2017

Jazzwise Top 10 Releases of 2017




On July 14, saxophonist, flutist, composer, and jazz mystic Charles Lloyd will release his latest Blue Note offering, Passin’ Thru, a passionate live recording that marks the 10th anniversary of his acclaimed and enduring New Quartet featuring pianist Jason Moran, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Eric Harland, a simpatico unit that teems with intuition, contemplation and playfulness. The album is a dynamic seven-song collection of Lloyd compositions old and new including the swinging and gleeful title track “Passin’ Thru” (first recorded in 1963 when Lloyd was a member of the Chico Hamilton Quintet), which is available today to download or stream.

Lloyd formed his first quartet in 1965 featuring soon-to-be jazz stars pianist Keith Jarrett, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Jack DeJohnette. Throughout his career he has returned to the quartet format, but he considers his New Quartet formed a decade ago “a landmark group nonpareil.” He elaborates:  “It’s a small planet, and we are just passing through on our journey to One. Every now and then there are important intersections. This quartet with Jason, Reuben and Eric coalesced very organically in April 2007. From the notes of our first concert, I knew that it was a magical formation.”

In the summer of 2016, Lloyd reconvened the New Quartet for their first extended tour in several years. In fact, Passin’ Thru opens with the very first song performed on that tour: “Dream Weaver” recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival on June 30 (the song was originally recorded on his first quartet’s 1966 debut album of the same name). The remaining six pieces were drawn from the band’s sublime performance at The Lensic in Santa Fe, New Mexico on July 29. Lloyd dedicated that concert, as well as this album, to the memory of his dear departed friend Judith McBean (the closing piece “Shiva Dreams” was “a prayer and meditation for her.”)

When asked why he chose to reexamine songs from his past on Passin’ Thru, Lloyd responds, “‘Passin’ Thru’ and ‘Dream Weaver’ are among my many children. They left home and came back. I left home and came back. When we visit with each other we find we have more stories to tell. As they have matured, I have too. When I go out now, I bring many more years of experience that I did not have as an idealistic young man.” Lloyd marvels at how the New Quartet members “have spread their wings in different ways.” However, he adds, “when we come together as a unit, we find the music and love has only grown deeper. The bond of our shared experiences on and off the stage informs and expands the music. A span of 10 years covers a lot of territory, but in the time frame of the Universe, it is a mere nanosecond.”

Track Listing:

1. Dream Weaver (Charles Lloyd) 17:46

2. Ruminations, Pt. 5 (Charles Lloyd) 11:55

3. Nu Blues (Charles Lloyd) 11:51

4. How Can I Tell You (Charles Lloyd) 9:46

5. Tagore on the Delta (Charles Lloyd) 7:45

6. Passin’ Thru (Charles Lloyd) 7:22

7. Shiva Prayer (Charles Lloyd) 8:25


Charles Lloyd: tenor saxophone, alto flute

Jason Moran: piano

Reuben Rogers: bass

Eric Harland: drums

Track 1 recorded at Montreux Jazz Festival June 30, 2016
Tracks 2-7 recorded at The Lensic, Santa Fe New Mexico July 29, 2016

Produced by Charles Lloyd, Dorothy Darr

Recorded by Adam Camardella

Mastered by Bernie Grundman

Mixed by Dom Camardella

Design, Photography by Dorothy Darr


Charles Lloyd formed his New Quartet in April 2007, and has toured and recorded with it whenever he has returned to the quartet format over the last decade. Surrounded by musicians half his age, he seems rejuvenated in their presence – certainly his playing does not betray the passing of years (he was born in 1938) but instead displays a rich, ripe maturity – while the younger men, aware they are under the wing of a master, willingly surrender individual ambition to collective endeavour. Certainly, there is a focus and intensity to Moran’s playing when with Lloyd that’s not so apparent on his own recordings. Lloyd reaches back into his distinguished past with a performance of ‘Dream Weaver’, the title track of his debut album on the Atlantic label that introduced his then new quartet with Keith Jarrett, Cecil McBee and Jack DeJohnette. Recorded at the Montreux Jazz festival on 30 June 2016, it’s a memorable performance, Lloyd commenting, “I bring many more years of experience that I did not have as an idealistic young man.” The remaining performances are drawn from a concert at The Lensic in Santa Fé, New Mexico on 29 July 2016, and include standout performances from both Lloyd and Moran on ‘Nu Blues’, ‘How Can I Tell You’ and ‘Passin’ Thru’. 

Stuart Nicholson (Jazzwise)