On March 15, the tenor saxophonist and flutist Charles Lloyd spent his 80th birthday at home—both literally and, given that he’s one of jazz’s most exalted and enduring live performers, figuratively. At a concert in Santa Barbara, Calif., Lloyd led a special ensemble combining bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland—the rhythm section in Lloyd’s New Quartet and in his Americana-flavored band the Marvels—with pianist Gerald Clayton, an occasional member of the Quartet; guitarist Julian Lage; and, from Lloyd’s birthplace of Memphis, Tenn., organist Booker T. Jones of Booker T. & the M.G.’s.
“I didn’t know Booker then [in the ’60s]—he’s behind me several years,” Lloyd says on the phone from his house in the picturesque Central California town. “But he acted like I was a big deal to him when he was growing up. I never knew that. You don’t know where your seed falls and the tree grows.”