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Music Review: 'I Long To See You,' Charles Lloyd

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Charles Lloyd is a jazz elder with a wide-angle view of the world. The 77-year-old tenor saxophonist begins his new album with a cover of Bob Dylan's "Masters Of War."

(SOUNDBITE OF CHARLES LLOYD AND THE MARVELS SONG, "MASTERS OF WAR")

SIEGEL: It ends with a 16-minute journey based on a Buddhist prayer. In between, Lloyd does folk songs and originals, and he collaborates with Willie Nelson and Norah Jones. Reviewer Tom Moon says the album, called "I Long To See You," has a low-key allure.

TOM MOON, BYLINE: One complaint you hear about jazz goes like this - it can be hard to follow, especially when there's lots of notes flying around and not much melody. That's not the case with the latest from Charles Lloyd.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHARLES LLOYD AND THE MARVELS SONG, "SHENANDOAH")

MOON: Lloyd's saxophone can haunt you. Here, he's working with melodies that express y yearning, and he plays them simply with great earnestness, avoiding anything showy.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHARLES LLOYD AND THE MARVELS SONG, "LE LLORONA")

MOON: Charles Lloyd assembled a group that's ideal for this mission. He added sound-wizard guitarist Bill Frisell and pedal steel virtuoso Greg Leisz to his longtime rhythm section. They play together as though they're dancing. They're sensitive and differential, determined not to overstep. Listen to the way they gently shadow Norah Jones.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL")

NORAH JONES: (Singing) You are so beautiful to me. You are so beautiful to me.

MOON: There's jazz invention going on, but it's usually connected in some profound way to the themes.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHARLES LLOYD AND THE MARVELS SONG, "YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL")

MOON: Throughout this record, Charles Lloyd and his aptly named band The Marvels keep melody in the foreground. That's not exactly jazz business as usual. But listen to where it leads - to music that evokes an uncommon state of grace.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHARLES LLOYD AND THE MARVELS SONG, "BARCHE LAMSEL")

SIEGEL: Charles Lloyd's latest is called "I Long To See You." Reviewer Tom Moon is the author of "1,000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die." Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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