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But I found one performance definitively Newport. It was Sunday afternoon, the rain was over, and the 74-year-old saxophonist and flutist Charles Lloyd was exploring his own Indian side with the tabla master Zakir Hussain and, yes, drummer Eric Harland. When I came upon Lloyd mid-set, he playing a flute solo over Hussain's spare patterns while Harland plucked a drone pattern on the strings of an open piano. Then Lloyd moved to soprano sax — he got the high-reedy quality of a musette as he spun scales in patterns over the tablas. They were the kind of scales that never seem to resolve, over a rhythmic pattern whose end you can't count. Gulls were coasting high overhead. Sailboats were tacking into the harbor — coming toward us, heeling, spray coming off their bows. But they were so far off, their sails billowing under the cloudy gray sky, that they appeared to be moving hardly at all. With the music playing, and the audience of several hundred whisper-quiet, time stopped for a moment: the still center of the turning world.

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  Topics: Jazz , Music, Newport Jazz Festival, Rhode Island music,  More more >
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 See all articles by: JON GARELICK