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Arrows Into Infinity: The New Charles Lloyd Documentary Reviewed

His life, music and philosophies

Charles Lloyd (left) and Herbie Hancock in 1974 (photo courtesy of ECM Records)
Charles Lloyd (left) and Herbie Hancock in 1974 (photo courtesy of ECM Records)
Woody "Sonship" Theus, Charles Lloyd, Michel Petrucciani, Ornette Coleman in 1983 (photo courtesy of ECM Records)

Not long into the preamble of the new documentary Arrows Into Infinity, available now on DVD and Blu-ray from ECM Records, Charles Lloyd invokes the metaphor that inspired the title. “You can’t shoot an arrow into infinity if you’re always in motion,” the saxophonist-composer intones. “You have to pull the bow back. Then the arrow can fly.”

About 105 minutes later, Lloyd applies this notion to his New Quartet with pianist Jason Moran, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland, which he convened eight years ago. “This music changes the molecular structure in the atmosphere,” he says. “We get on this magic carpet and take off. It’s the wisdom of the ancients with modernity. It’s arrows into infinity.”

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Originally Published

Ted Panken

Ted Panken writes extensively about jazz and creative music for various publications, and programmed jazz and creative music on WKCR-FM in New York City from 1985 through 2008. He won the 2007 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for his article “Smalls Universe,” published by DownBeat, and earned the Jazz Journalists’ Association 2016 Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism award. His blog, Today Is The Question, contains over 260 of his articles and verbatim interviews.