Hyperion with Higgins

Hyperion with Higgins

by Charles Lloyd
     
 

In December 1999, Charles Lloyd and drum master Billy Higgins, friends since 1956, went into the studio with guitarist John Abercrombie, pianist Brad Mehldau, and bassist Larry Grenadier to record some 20 tunes. ECM released 12 on 2000's already iconic The Water Is Wide. The remaining 8 tracks, all Lloyd originals, comprise…  See more details below

Overview

In December 1999, Charles Lloyd and drum master Billy Higgins, friends since 1956, went into the studio with guitarist John Abercrombie, pianist Brad Mehldau, and bassist Larry Grenadier to record some 20 tunes. ECM released 12 on 2000's already iconic The Water Is Wide. The remaining 8 tracks, all Lloyd originals, comprise the more extroverted Hyperion with Higgins, where the collective tonal personality turns, as Lloyd puts it, to the pursuit of "climbing those rapids of elevation that we all love." As on The Water Is Wide, both Lloyd and Higgins, who died earlier this year, are at the top of their considerable games. Higgins knits with Mehldau and Grenadier, with whom he'd never played, as though they'd been a working unit for years, while Abercrombie exemplifies ensemble taste and soloistic vigor. Lloyd offers melodies that reference the scales of Brazil ("Dancing Waters: Big Sur to Bahia"), India ("Bharati"), Japan ("Secret Life of the Forbidden City"), North Africa ("The Caravan Moves On" -- which opens with a tarogato drum duet and evolves into contrapuntal dialogue with Abercrombie), and Senegal ("Dervish on the Glory B"). He affirms his roots in the blues (the evocative "Darkness on the Delta Suite"), the spiritual ("Miss Jessye"), and the music of John Coltrane ("Hyperion with Higgins"). In all, a strong candidate for 2001's Album of the Year.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - David R. Adler
The December 1999 sessions that produced The Water Is Wide yielded enough material for a second album. Hyperion With Higgins is the result, and its title reflects the sad fact that Billy Higgins, Lloyd's friend and soul mate and the session's drummer, passed away not long after the music was put to tape. The music's spiritual quality is heightened by the after-the-fact dedication. Quite unlike The Water Is Wide, Hyperion With Higgins is comprised entirely of Lloyd's original compositions, although the same lineup is featured: Lloyd, Higgins, John Abercrombie, Brad Mehldau, and Larry Grenadier. After a couple of fairly straightforward jazz pieces ("Dancing Waters, Big Sur to Bahia" and "Bharati"), the quintet delves into two longer works: "Secret Life of the Forbidden City" and the Coltrane-esque "Miss Jessye." They then romp through the title track, a spirited mid-tempo blues, before tackling the album's centerpiece: the five-part "Darkness on the Delta Suite," an ambitious, free-leaning melange of Eastern and rural blues connotations (with a brilliant solo interlude by Abercrombie). The last two pieces -- "Dervish on the Glory B" and "The Caravan Moves On" -- depart almost completely from jazz vernacular. The former recalls the upbeat, folk-like drone of the sunset portion of "Forest Flower," while the latter, featuring Lloyd on taragato, evokes not only the Middle Eastern desert, but also the inexorable march of time. Thus does a fitting homage to the departed Higgins conclude this exceptionally focused, all-original statement from Charles Lloyd.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/21/2001
Label:
Ecm Records
UPC:
0044001400025
catalogNumber:
014000

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