Listening to Hagar’s Song is kind of like spying on two lovers while they are embraced. In this case the lovers would be 75 year old tenor saxophonist Charles Lloyd and 39 year Harlem pianist Jason Moran. Hagar’s song is a set of jazz standards delicately situated around Lloyd’s original composition, a five-part suite dedicated to the memory of his great-great grandmother, who spent most of her life as a slave. There is no generation gap here as the two long time collaborators (Lloyd and Moran) speak the same rich musical language. The dialog between them is beautiful and emotional. Lloyd’s sound is vibrant on classics by Ellington and Strayhorn, and Moran at times almost seems possessed by the spirit of Bill Evans ala Kind of Blue and a Waltz for Debbie. Hagar Suite is both powerful and vulnerable all at the same time, moving from sweeping rhythmic intonations by Moran to solitary melancholy wauls by Lloyd. In the end, the album reconciles all these emotions with a beautiful rendition of Brian Wilson’s God Only Knows.
Please listen to Hagar’s Song. I’m sure you will enjoy it, and fall in love with it too.
1. Pretty Girl – Billy Strayhorn
2. Mood Indigo – Duke Ellington
3. Bess, You Is My Woman Now – George Gershwin
4. All About Ronnie – Joe Greene
5. Pictogram – Charles Lloyd
6. You’ve Changed – Carl Fischer
7. Hagar Suite: Journey Up River – Charles Lloyd
8. Hagar Suite: Dreams of White Bluff – Charles Lloyd
9. Hagar Suite: Alone – Charles Lloyd
10. Hagar Suite: Bolivar Blues – Charles Lloyd
11. Hagar Suite: Hagar’s Lullaby – Charles Lloyd
12. Rosetta – Earl Hines
13. I Shall Be Released – Bob Dylan
14. God Only Knows -Brian Wilson