The Zen Master – by Pancho Savery (board member)

It was like being in a Japanese garden. Charles Lloyd was a Zen master on the saxophone, and listening to him was sublime. What was even more amazing was watching Lloyd listening to his young musicians. He gave them a huge amount of space and they rose to the occasion. He walked around the stage pausing at each instrument, listening and encouraging them to “Play, Play!” And eventually he would go back to the front, pick up his horn, and like the original Zen master Lester Young played it sideways. There were times when an audience would normally have applauded, but they didn’t because they didn’t want to break the mood, so in the moment were the audience with the musicians. They ended with Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday,” and we were back in church. A lot of times when musicians are young they attempt to show how good they are by playing loud and fast, but Lloyd demonstrated that age teaches that less is definitely more.

Charles

 

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