Album Review: Vanished Gardens by Charles Lloyd & the Marvels
Very Good, Based on 2 Critics
AllMusic - 70 Based on rating 7/10
On Charles Lloyd & the Marvels 2016 debut, I Long to See You, the ensemble -- the saxophonist's rhythm section, drummer Eric Harland and bassist Reuben Rogers, and guitarists Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz -- delivered an honorable but overly deferential outing that somewhat belied the promise of its personnel. On Vanished Gardens, the Marvels leave deference in the dustbin. Here, with the assistance of Lucinda Williams, they create a music that draws on the sum total of experience and shared emotion.
This meet-up between singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams and jazzman Charles Lloyd is fortuitous. Williams — with her background in country, blues, and rock — provides a perfect complement to the Americana leanings of Lloyd's work with the Marvels (guitarist Bill Frisell, pedal steel guitarist and dobro player Greg Leisz, and the rhythm section of Lloyd's New Quartet, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland). Or, as the Memphis-born saxophonist said about meeting the Louisiana native at a Marvels concert, he "sensed a deep Southern crossroads connection." The album's title, "Vanished Gardens," suggests the elegiac strain that runs through all 10 of these tracks (five with Williams's vocals).