Last year, the always vibrant, visionary saxophonist Charles Lloyd and his group The Marvels released their album, I Long to See You, on Blue Note. It’s an amazing album and the group of guitarist Bill Frisell, pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland completely kill live. For a most fitting example, Lloyd released this live recording of them performing Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara, California on November 28 featuring Lucinda Williams on vocals. The song has always been weighty, and these folks play it extra heavy, but Lloyd wanted to make sure this version got out today on this particularly solemn American Presidential Inauguration Day. Check out the stream of the song (which is also available for download) and Lloyd’s statement after the jump.
STATEMENT FROM CHARLES LLOYD:
Nations have been throwing rocks at each other for 1000s of years. We go through spells of light and darkness. In my lifetime I have witnessed periods of peace, protest, and uprising, only to be repeated by peace, protest and more uprising. The fact that Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” was written in the early 1960s and not during the last decade, makes it timeless and timely. It breaks my heart to think that there are current generations of young people all over the world who are growing up without knowing of Peace in their lives. The words Dylan wrote are a laser beam on humanity. This line, in particular, has stuck with me for over 5 decades:
“Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul”
The world is a dog’s curly tail – no matter how many times we straighten it out, it keeps curling back. As artists we aspire to console, uplift and inspire. To unite us through sound across boundaries and borders and dissolve lines of demarcation that separate. The beautiful thing is that as human beings, even under the most adverse conditions, we are capable of kindness, compassion and love. Vision and hope. All life is one. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll succeed. We go forward.
I Long to See You, the latest album from Charles Lloyd and the Marvels, is out now on Blue Note Records.
Nextbop Editor-in-Chief Anthony Dean-Harris hosts the modern jazz radio show, The Line-Up, Fridays at 9pm CST on 91.7 FM KRTU San Antonio and is also a contributing writer to DownBeat Magazine and the San Antonio Current.