What: The saxophonist assembles three groups to play a four-night stand in Minneapolis.
Where: Dakota Jazz Club, 1010 Nicollet Mall.
Tickets: $40-$125; 612-332-5299, dakotacooks.com
Thursday (7 p.m.)
The group: Charles Lloyd’s Sangam featuring Zakir Hussain (tabla) and Eric Harland (drums).
“I discovered Ravi Shankar and Alla Rakha when I was in college at USC,” Lloyd said via e-mail. “I later came to find out that Alla Rakha is Zakir’s father. Shortly after 9/ 11, Zakir and I did a duo concert at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. It was a deeply moving experience for both of us and for the audience.
“In the spring of 2004 after Eric Harland had been playing with me in the quartet for two years, I wanted to put together a special group to honor Master [drummer Billy] Higgins. Sangam was born. Some time later, Zakir told me that when he came to the States in the early 1970s he had wanted to play with me. So you see, life is an interesting series of intersections.”
Friday & Saturday (7 & 10 p.m.)
The group: Charles Lloyd and the Marvels featuring Bill Frisell (guitar), Greg Leisz (guitar and slide guitar), special guest Lucinda Williams (guitar and vocals), Reuben Rogers (bass) and Eric Harland (drums).
“After I had been playing with Charles for a while,” Frisell said, “he talked about growing up in Memphis and how he loved the sound of the slide guitar and wanted to reconnect to those sounds he was hearing as a kid. He asked if I’d heard slide players and I told him, man, this guy Greg is my total brother, we’ve been playing together for many years. So Greg showed up at this gig at UCLA with no prep and just fell in with it. Next thing I knew I got an e-mail [from Charles] saying we are going to be the Marvels. So we had a name and kept going from there.”
Lloyd said, “The Marvels came together organically. Bill heard me in Denver as a high school student with Keith [Jarrett] and Paul Motian. He told me it opened his musical universe. Bill led to Greg. And Bill and Greg together led to Lucinda. She is an authentic voice and poet of American experience. She mines the dark recesses of the soul and shines a little light into the darkness through the exquisiteness of her words. We meet on that bridge.”
SUNDAY (6 & 8 p.m.)
The group: Charles Lloyd New Quartet with Jason Moran (piano), Reuben Rogers (bass) and Eric Harland (drums).
“Once we arrived in [Charles’] group, we learned things about lyrics, songs, meditations, spirituality — things we have all been yearning for in other working situations,” Moran said.
“We are like a flock of pigeons who can change directions quickly, with Charles as the homing pigeon. Eric, Reuben and I are of the same generation, so we have the same attitude about rhythm and about Charles. When we cover a Beach Boys song from [many] years ago, it will be different to us than it is to Charles. When we play ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing,’ our notion of freedom is probably from a different context than it is to Charles.”
Lloyd said, “We took flight together over a decade ago, and we still love to find thermals to soar higher and higher on together. The winds of Grace are always blowing, we must set our sails high. We have shared a lot together on and off the stage. Scheduling is often a challenge in this very busy world, so I am happy that we’ll be together again, here in Minneapolis.”