Acoustic Sounds

Charles Lloyd

Trios: Chapel



Label: Blue Note

Produced By: Dorothy Darr, Charles Lloyd

Engineered By: Adam Carmaedella

Mixed By: Dominic Carmadella

Mastered By: Kevin Gray, Joe Harley

Lacquers Cut By: Kevin Gray

By: Fred Kaplan

October 1st, 2022





The Lush Glory of Charles Lloyd

The West Coast Coltrane's new balladeering trio

Charles Lloyd is a force of nature. At 84, he’s not only active but very nearly at the top of his game, blowing blues, ballads, and up-tempo rousers—holding whole notes and raining sheets of sound—with grace, verve, and beauty. He has also been a superb gatherer of talent over the decades. His breakthrough album as a leader, Dream Weaver, featured Keith Jarrett, Cecil McBee, and Jack DeJohnette, in 1966, before any of them were known. In the past decade, unlike some elder masters who shine in the reflection of lesser sidemen, Lloyd has recruited--he's chosen to be challenged by--the finest young musicians around, among them Jason Moran, Geri Allen, Brian Blade, Eric Harland, and Brad Mehldau.

Chapel, the first of a “trio of trio” albums, has Lloyd not so much fronting as playing alongside guitarist Bill Frisell, who’s played with Lloyd in the past, and Thomas Morgan, Frisell’s most frequent bassist. Recorded live in 2018 (when Lloyd was merely 80), at a chapel in San Antonio (hence the title), it begins with a haunting cover of Billy Strayhorn’s “Blood Count,” and proceeds with three Lloyd pieces—“Song My Lady Sings,” “Beyond Darkness,” and “Darotea’s Studio”—interrupted only by the Cuban love song “Ay Amor.”

Some of Lloyd’s recent albums, notably 8: Kindred Spirits (recorded, also live, nine months earlier, though released in 2020), swing back and forth between the mellow and the raucous, but Trios: Chapel dwells mainly in the mellow. A couple of them are a little too mellow for my taste, but most of them are driving, gorgeous pieces, and intricate, too, Lloyd and Frisell trading parts or one leading, the other following in just-barely-not-quite unison or harmonizing or letting go a comment in some oblique but lovely way, while Morgan anchors the interplay. Their treatments of "Blood Count" and "Song My Lady Sings" are instant classics.

Adam Camardella of Santa Barbara Sound Design has recorded many of Lloyd’s recent albums, and they’re all sonic delights. For road shows, like this, he uses a Neumann 103 on the sax, ADK Zigmas over the drums, and various dynamic mics for the guitar and bass, all plugged into 96/24 Pro Tools. His father, Dominic, a veteran jazz engineer, mixed the results on Neve analog modules. The results are superb. Lloyd sounds vibrant, warm, and full-blooded. Frisell’s flickering notes—some horn-like, some full strums—are caught lightning fast and clear. The slight reverb is artificial (it had to be added in the mix, because the Pro Tools 8-track set-up lacked enough tracks for a room mic), but it's skillfully done; it sounds like natural ambience. (I'm describing the vinyl LP, but the CD sounds very good too,

Lloyd's next trios albums--Trios: Ocean (with guitarist Anthony Wilson and pianist Gerald Clayton) and Trios: Sacred Thread (with guitarist Julian Lage and percussionist Zakir Hussain), will come out in the fall. More when we hear more.

Music Specifications

Catalog No: B003492701

Pressing Plant: Pallas


Speed/RPM: 33 1/3

Weight: 180 grams

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Presentation: Single LP