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New Releases / Jazz

March 18, 1994|BILL KOHLHAASE

*** 1/2 CHARLES LLOYD "The Call" ECM

This album, much like Lloyd's previous releases for ECM, is replete with contemplative airs, pensive confessions and sweeping vistas that reflect the saxophonist's own philosophical journey.

Lloyd's tenor is at once curiously imaginative and assertive, and played in tones that carry an ember's glow. The space he leaves between phrases becomes as important as the phrases themselves when Lloyd, playing with a thoughtful deliberateness, allows each note time to settle into view.

Pianist Bobo Stenson complements this approach with lyricism and spacious harmonics. His unaccompanied introduction to "Song" tacks breezily here and there until he sails ahead on bassist Anders Jormin's puffy walk. In Billy Hart, who shades and colors each tune with responsive snare and cymbal accents, Lloyd seems to have found the perfect drummer for his dreamy episodes.

Not everything here is sedate. "Imke" finds Lloyd ready to rant, powered by Hart's swelling tom-tom exchanges. And Lloyd's tenor flurries on "Brother on the Rooftop" show that he can pack even the most tribal, free-form rhythms with meaning and emotion.

New albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good, recommended), four stars (excellent).

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