Charles Lloyd, Eric Harland, Jason Moran, and Reuben Rogers; Charles Lloyd, Eric Harland, and Zakir Hussain | Symphony Center | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Charles Lloyd, Eric Harland, Jason Moran, and Reuben Rogers; Charles Lloyd, Eric Harland, and Zakir Hussain 

When: Fri., June 3, 8 p.m. 2011
Price: $21-$50
It takes a confident bandleader to hire a bold, iconoclastic pianist like Jason Moran, but reedist Charles Lloyd has plenty of that kind of confidence—he's spent decades developing his serene but tightly coiled sound, and he can trust his sidemen to come to him. He's always surrounded himself with excellent musicians—in the mid-60s he introduced future heavies like Jack DeJohnette and Keith Jarrett to the mainstream jazz audience—and his current band is as good as any he's led. On last year's gorgeous quartet record Mirror (ECM), he revisits tunes he's recorded over the past decade or so, and the new versions are more exploratory than the old ones—even when he repeats himself, he sounds restlessly vital. Lloyd's style owes a lot to John Coltrane's meditative side—contemplative tenderness drips from his melodic improvisations on "Desolation Sound"—but even at its most serene his playing simmers with the intensity of an ongoing spiritual quest. Moran, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Eric Harland match Lloyd's temperament perfectly, channeling their own energy into his spacious, patient aesthetic. From luxuriant readings of Monk gems like "Monk's Mood" and "Ruby, My Dear" to a wide-open treatment of the Beach Boys ballad "Caroline, No" to African-American spirituals like "Go Down Moses" and "The Water Is Wide," the music has a lyrical generosity and calm that's supported by a muscular backbone. Lloyd's quartet, with regular collaborator Larry Grenadier subbing for Rogers, headlines this concert; Lloyd's trio with Harland and brilliant Indian percussionist Zakir Hussain opens. —Peter Margasak

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