Poetry, Pleased: Charles Lloyd & The Marvels: Tone Poem

Editor's Choice

Rating: ★★★★

Record and Artist Details


Reuben Rogers
Charles Lloyd (ts)
Greg Leisz
Eric Harland
Bill Frisell


Blue Note Tone Poet


Media Format:

CD, 2 LP, DL

Catalogue Number:



Rec. date not stated

Although the vocal add-ons to the Marvels' first two albums spoke of music-making with no boundaries or barriers, the fascination of the instrumental line-up left a feeling of wanting more, if only to probe deeper into the musical centre of this intriguing ensemble. Of course, it's Lloyd's eloquent, hypnotic saxophone that moderates the ebb and flow of proceedings, but the musical context with which he surrounds himself suggests a potential for growth in managing the relationship of the electric to the acoustic. A big step in that direction comes with Tone Poem, that with the absence of vocals places Lloyd and his ensemble centre stage for a more detailed update on their direction of travel. What becomes clear – if it was not clear already – is the addition of the guitar ‘choir' provides unexpected depth and resonance to the time honoured configuration of sax plus piano, bass and drums. This extra dimension, both in ensemble and solo, makes this one of the most intriguing ensembles Lloyd has led. The glorious ‘Monk's Mood' (previously performed as a Lloyd/Frisell duo on Vanished Gardens) provides eloquent testimony to that. But the sheer emotional range, from ‘Prayer' where Lloyd cleverly alters the tonal density of the group for added impact through to Ornette's Coleman's ever-engaging ‘Ramblin', as well as the simple profundity of Leonard Cohen's ‘Anthem', this is a band that offers as much with the promise of more to come.

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