Trios: Sacred Thread (Blue Note

Charles Lloyd

Released November 18, 2022

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On November 18, Charles Lloyd will release Trios: Sacred Thread, the third and final album in his Trio of Trios series, an expansive project that presents the legendary saxophonist and NEA Jazz Master in three different trio settings. Trios: Sacred Thread, which features Lloyd with guitarist Julian Lage and percussionist Zakir Hussain, is previewed today with the spellbinding single “Desolation Sound.”

The first album in the series, Trios: Chapel, featured guitarist Bill Frisell and bassist Thomas Morgan. The second, Trios: Ocean, featured pianist Gerald Clayton and guitarist Anthony Wilson. The three albums are being released individually on vinyl, CD, and digital formats, and can also be ordered as the Trio of Trios 3-LP vinyl boxset which comes in a hardcover slipcase.

Lloyd has long been a free spirit, master musician, and visionary. For more than 6 decades the legendary saxophonist and composer has loomed large over the music world, and at 84 years old he remains at the height of his powers and as prolific as ever. Early on Lloyd saw how placing the improvised solo in interesting and original contexts could provoke greater freedom of expression and inspire creativity, and throughout his remarkable career he has searched for alternative ways to frame his improvisational skills.

Past experiences often illuminate the present in Lloyd’ music, for example, the provenance of The Sacred Thread — and the encounters that helped inform it — originated in the late fifties: “When I was studying at the University of Southern California, Ravi Shankar and Alla Rakha used to come around,” he recalls.  “That’s when I heard the call of Mother India —  not only the music, but poets like Tagore and the saints such as Milarepa. Later, I found my way to Ramakrishna and Vedanta. I was also deeply moved by Ali Akbar Khan, the sarod player. His sons Ashish and Pranesh are on my album, Geeta.” Released in 1973, it was described by Billboard as, “Indian music blending cogently with free flowing modern jazz.”

“Zakir and I played together in concert for the first time in 2001,” says Lloyd, “and it was then I learned Alla Rakha was his father, whom I saw playing with Ravi Shankar at USC, so it has been like that… connections on a journey. You could call it Providence, I call it a Sacred Thread.”

“I first heard young Julian when he was 12,” Lloyd continues. “He grew up not far from Healdsburg and was known to be a wunderkind — he had big ears and I heard his potential. Twenty years later I invited him to join me – he’s still a young man and his ears have only grown bigger. So — I keep being blessed by souls who find a way to me, it still inspires me to go out on the high wire and try to fly.” On September 26, 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Lloyd streamed a concert for a virtual audience at The Paul Mahder Gallery in Healdsburg, California. Joined by Hussain and Lage, Lloyd observed, “While the energy and exchange between musicians and audience is gone, there is a concentration and focus that is not interrupted by applause.”

Track Listing:

1. Desolation Sound (Charles Lloyd) 03:19

2. Guman (Zakir Hussain) 04:13

3. Nachekita’s Lament (Charles Lloyd) 09:23

4. Saraswati (Zakir Hussain) 01:53

5. Kuti (Zakir Hussain) 07:51

6. Tales of Rumi (Charles Lloyd) 08:47

7. The Blessing (Charles Lloyd) 03:25


Charles Lloyd: tenor saxophone, alto flute, tarogato, maracas

Zakir Hussain: tabla, percussion, vocals

Julian Lage: guitar

Recorded at Healdsburg Jazz Festival, Paul Mahder Gallery, Healdsburg, CA, by Adam Camardella

Produced by Dorothy Darr and Charles Lloyd and

Supervised by Joe Harley

Mixed by Dom Camardella

Mastered by Kevin Gray

Cover Art, Photos and Design: Dorothy Darr

Package Layoput: Meat And Potatoes, Inc.


This is the third and final album in Blue Note’s Charles Lloyd-dedicated ‘Trio of Trios’ series, with the orchestrally-resourceful guitarist Julian Lage joining mindbendingly multi-tasking percussion legend Zakir Hussain in conversation with the 84 year-old US reeds maestro.

Sacred Thread represents the Trio series’ most radical departure from the freeboppish or bluesily grooving soundscapes of its predecessors Chapel, and Ocean – a more open global-musical trip, as well as an homage to Lloyd’s decades-long devotion to the spirituality of the East. Mutual empathy is plain from the opening ‘Desolation Sound’, with its deep-hooting tenor ballad statement punctuated by the leader’s characteristically fast-wriggling fills spinning off dolorous long tones. Hussain’s reverentially tender singing is shadowed by Lage’s chord chimes on ‘Guman’, ‘Nachekita’s Lament’ is a meditation for billowing flute tones, slow chanting and brooding guitar rejoinders that becomes a catchy tabla-driven canter. Lloyd plays the mournful soprano sax-like tárogató on ‘Saraswati’ (mostly with only gentle gong-sounds fitful tabla-rhythm flickers for company), Hussain’s voice and Lloyd’s vaporous flute share the initially ballad-like ‘Kuti’ before a groove much more suggestive of the hi-life star of the title emerges to draw a boldly skidding break from Lage. ‘Tales of Rumi’ invites an enthralling Hussain long intro of racing rhythms and whoopy voicelike accents before it becomes a tenor-led folk dance, and a quietly impassioned Lloyd-Lage dialogue on ‘The Blessing’ wraps up a real gem, even by the octogenarian California jazz guru’s standards.

John Fordham (Jazzwise)