Music from the pandemic
In September 2020 at the height of the pandemic, the then 82 year old saxophonist Charles Lloyd streamed a concert for a virtual audience from The Paul Mahder Gallery in Healdsburg, California accompanied by Zakir Hussain (tabla & vocals) and Julian Lage (guitar). Blue Note recorded their set for the album Sacred Thread, with Charles Lloyd observing, “While the energy and exchange between musicians and audience is gone, there is a concentration and focus that is not interrupted by applause” - see the YouTube video.
Desolation Sound, the opening track, reflects the mood of the time but never sinks into pathos. Other tracks such as Saraswati, a song of devotion to the goddess of music, art and wisdom, Guman a gesture of respect to the enlightened, and the mystical Tales of Rumi reflect Charles Lloyd's longstanding preoccupation with shabda, the tradition of transformative sound; while Zakir Hussain's reinvention of the dhrupad vocal tradition contributes to the meditative mood. With Sacred Thread Charles Lloyd and his colleagues have created something very rare, new music that is both good and relevant to our predicament.