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Irish-Australian pianist Greg Lloyd divides his time between Ireland, where he has kept a base for the past 11 years, and regular periods in New York. His very fine debut album draws on a range of diverse influences, with a distinct Latin feel throughout. Eddie McGinn’s percussion on a lengthily-titled Algerian Chaabi sequence remains understated and nothing goes into overdrive on this most subtle of records. That latter track may be Algerian but the listener will discern in Lloyd’s treatment a certain Flamenco touch, which music owes so much to North Africa anyway. There you have your Latin theme once again, in a roundabout way, as it were.
The opener, Uzak, is a Lloyd-penned exercise a la Cubana. It is a tribute to the pianist that he can make something original and authentically salsa, at least to these untutored ears. Extending the Latin tendency, he does a short cover version of the South American standard Bésame Mucho, which is kind of gone before you have noticed.
Lloyd’s intuitive title track, Long Way Home has a ruminative, mellow texture, winding around a repetitive trope, somewhat reminiscent of the Tord Gustavson Trio. Lloyd and his cohorts(Kevin Brady on drums and double bassist Dave Redmond) conjure a pale, wistful mood.
Chew The Fat races on energetically, talking to itself in a sort of blues shuffle. Then comes the sun-dappled, dreamy Danny. The vigorous, up-tempo Rue de Seine sees Brady giving the drums relatively more welly than on the rest of record. But he still doesn’t sound remotely like John Bonham. This excellent debut repays repeated listenings and, if there is any justice, should bring Lloyd to a global jazz audience.
Sunday Independent Review // Grainne Farren // 1 April 2012
Greg Lloyd: Long Way Home (GLG)
Greg Lloyd (piano), Dave Redmond (bass), Kevin Brady (drums), Eddie McGinn (percussion).
Australian-born Greg Lloyd, now based in Ireland, has travelled the world soaking up musical influences. The result is an irresistible sense of rhythm, heard especially in a lilting medley by El Anka, a composer of Chaabi music from Algeria. The two tunes of the medley, Soubane Allah Yalatif/Hamdou Lil Allah Mabkash Istiaamar Fi Bledna are tremendously catchy and guaranteed to set hips swaying. The same can be said for the ever-popular Besame Mucho, by the Mexican songwriter Consuelo Velazquez.
These and Lloyd’s own compositions get great support from bass, drums and percussion. Since this CD was made, Eddie McGinn has been replaced by an even better percussionist, Frailan Moran from Cuba, who stirred up a storm at the group’s concert in the Project Arts Centre in February. The quartet will play in JJ Smyth’s on April 22.