Lloyd’s focus on sonority takes on fresh significance here as he expands his usual quartet to include two European masters, Sokratis Sinopoulos, playing a Greek bowed lyra, and Miklos Lukacs on a cimbalom, the Hungarian form of a hammered dulcimer. The themes are everywhere enriched by the vernacular instruments, each adding a certain brilliance to the group sound and a certain resonance to the melodies. It’s apparent immediately on River which is further highlighted by Lukacs’ glittering solo and the way his lines dovetail with Gerald Clayton’s rippling piano. There’s also a special concordance between Lloyd’s tenor saxophone and Sinopoulos’ cello-like timbre. Lloyd achieves a flute-like delicacy on Invitation, while Lark will suggest Coltrane’s Crescent in its meditative depth.
Folk inspirations fuel the band’s long, open modal improvisations, propelled forward by bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Gerald Cleaver’s surging rhythms. At 75 minutes, it’s a long suite, but inspiration seldom flags.