Rabo de Nube

Charles Lloyd

CD18,90 out of print

In time for the great saxophonist’s 70th birthday on March 15, a rousing set from a revamped Lloyd Quartet, recorded live in Basel in 2007. New to the party, and in an ECM debut, is pianist Jason Moran, whose percussive attack, with its echoes of Monk and Bud Powell, lights fires. Moran already has a history with drummer Eric Harland, intensifying the rhythmic interaction that lifts Lloyd skyward on uptempo workouts including a blistering account of old favourite “Sweet Georgia Bright”. There are also tender ballads, including the title track, Cuban songwriter Silvio Rodríguez’s “Rabo de Nube” (“tail of a cloud”), a mountaintop meditation with the tarogato (“Ramanujan”), a tribute to Booker Little, and more. CD booklet includes concert photography as well as verse by prizewinning poet Charles Simic which nicely characterizes both the “rural” and “city” aspects of Charles’s sound.

Featured Artists Recorded

April 2007, Theater Basel

Original Release Date


  • 1Prometheus
    (Charles Lloyd)
  • 2Migration of Spirit
    (Charles Lloyd)
  • 3Booker's Garden
    (Charles Lloyd)
  • 4Ramanujan
    (Charles Lloyd)
  • 5La Colline de Monk
    (Charles Lloyd)
  • 6Sweet Georgia Bright
    (Charles Lloyd)
  • 7Rabo de Nube
    (Silvio Rodríguez Domínguez)

In verse written specially for this release, Charles Simic (currently Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for the Library of Congress) pinpoints the poles of Charles Lloyd’s unique musical personality. On the one hand, the metropolitan jazzman, taking the music further, with the greatest respect for the tradition: “Late night talk / On a tenor / With the dead / And the shadows they cast.” On the other, the flute player of the forests and the mountain: “Voice of solitude. / Voice of insomnia. / Call of a night bird. / Continuous prayer.” Charles Lloyd represents both of these positions, and the ‘rural’ and the ‘city’ aspects of his music are again in evidence on “Rabo de Nube”.

This live album, recorded in Basel in 2007, is issued in time for Charles’s 70th birthday on March 15, 2008. The disc introduces the newest edition of the Lloyd Quartet, with Jason Moran on piano and Reuben Rogers on bass joining Charles and drummer Eric Harland (both Moran and Rogers making their ECM debuts here). The work doesn’t stop, even for birthday celebrations, and just as Lloyd has continued to refine his sound as a player so he continues to shape his group music, always encouraging the players – in this case musicians half his age – to find their own space inside it.

“Rabo de Nube” (Tail of a Cloud) is named for the tune by Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez which concludes the performance here, a beautiful ballad that has long been a favourite of Lloyd’s. It makes its second appearance in his ECM discography, having previously appeared on “Lift Every Voice”, recorded in 2002. All other tunes are Lloyd originals and include the vintage “Sweet Georgia Bright”, a piece that Charles first recorded in 1964, both with his own band and with Cannonball Adderley’s group, and which, with its driving momentum, has been a concert favourite ever since. The Basel concert opens with “Prometheus”, which seems to borrow some of “Georgia Bright”’s fire. “Migration of Spirit” is a big, radiant tenor meditation. “Booker’s Garden”, in memory of childhood friend Booker Little, is a cheery tribute with the alto flute. The tarogato comes to the fore in “Ramanujan”, a piece whose non-specific tribal pulses tap into a universal folk-dance that has belonged to the ambit of Lloyd’s music since at least the late 60s and “Journey Within.” Its open form encourages some swirling piano responses from Moran, who gets back to the roots on “La Colline de Monk”, which, in turn, leads to “Sweet Georgia”. In all, “Rabo de Nube”, the album, gives a good account of the scope of Charles Lloyd’s music today.