This 2008 release coincides with modern jazz master, Charles Lloyd’s seventieth birthday. Nonetheless, his legacy should be considered common knowledge among many jazz aficionados. Captured live at a theater in Basil, Switzerland., the leader casts his customary jazz mantra via an underlying sense of spiritualism that is largely inherent within his distinct phrasings. Here, young jazz piano wunderkind Jason Moran serves as an interesting foil. As the quartet mixes it up while occasionally skirting the free realm amid Lloyd’s use of the targato woodwind instrument that enables him to cast a hybrid jazz/world-music panorama during various segments.
The quartet’s expanse comes to fruition early-on via a democratic mindset. In effect, they venture into a potpourri of theme building maneuvers, featuring hyper-mode bop/swing, the blues and variable pulses. On "Booker’s Garden," (a tribute to late trumpeter Booker Little), the band exercises an airy and rather enchanting sequence of mini-motifs, enhanced by Lloyd’s ethereal, alto-flute lines and drummer Eric Harland’s African rhythms. Then on "La Colline de Monk," Moran and Lloyd delve into some feisty give and take dialogues, while conveying an intuitive understanding of each other’s subsequent moves. And in other spots, the band soars towards the cosmos while periodically toning matters down some with lamenting choruses and playful group-based exchanges. It’s all consummated on the final and title track "Rabo de Nube," featuring Lloyd’s buttery sax lines atop Moran’s delicate chord clusters.
Overall, this live recording captures the artists’ at the top of their game, especially when considering the sum of the parts, and how they seamlessly stream into a rather magical exposition. Lloyd has reason to celebrate with this glistening gem.