The 'Hagar Suite' is composed by the saxophonist and dedicated to his great-great-grandmother, who was taken from her home in south Mississippi at age 10 and sold to a slave-owner in Tennessee, who impregnated her when she was 14. "When I learned the story of Hagar's life it moved me very deeply," says Lloyd. "The suite mirrors the stages of her life; loss of family, loneliness and the unknown, dreams, sorrow, and songs to her newborn children."
The recording also features pieces especially dear to Lloyd, ranging from compositions by Billy Strayhorn ("Pretty Girl" a/k/a "Star-Crossed Lovers"), Duke Ellington ("Mood Indigo"), George Gershwin ("Bess, You Is My Woman Now") and Earl Hines ("Rosetta") to a standard strongly associated with Billie Holiday ("You've Changed"), Brian Wilson's most famous Beach Boys ballad ("God Only Knows") and a Bob Dylan song definitively interpreted by the Band ("I Shall Be Released"), played in memory of the late Levon Helm.
Personnel: Charles Lloyd (tenor and alto saxophones, bass and alto flutes), Jason Moran (piano, tambourine)
- Pretty Girl (aka Star Crossed Lovers)
- Mood Indigo
- Bess, You Is My Woman Now
- All About Ronnie
- You've Changed
- Hagar Suite, I. Journey Up River
- II. Dreams Of White Bluff
- III. Alone
- IV. Bolivar Blues
- V. Hagar's Lullaby
- I Shall Be Released
- God Only Knows
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