Saxophone Legend Charles Lloyd Talks About His Music Career on Campus

Charles Lloyd talks about his music career with Dr. John Bass at Rhodes College
Saxophone legend Charles Lloyd talks about his music career with Dr. John Bass at Rhodes College.

Rhodes’ Mike Curb Institute for Music recently hosted jazz saxophone legend and Memphis native Charles Lloyd to discuss his career in music. In addition to Rhodes students, the event was attended by Cordova High School’s music students and members of the White Station High School band program.

Dr. John Bass, director of the Curb Institute, told the audience that part of the institute’s goal is to explore Memphis music through preservation, research, leadership, and civic responsibility. 

“Bringing back the great masters and letting them share their stories and music with students and young people today helps to make sure that these traditions don't become petrified in museums, but serve as sources of inspiration and creativity,” Bass said.

During his talk, Lloyd shared stories about his time as a young man growing up in Memphis and told about the time Phineas Newborn Jr., a renowned jazz pianist, pulled him aside to tell him, “You need lessons bad,” and then took him to Irv Reason, a local saxophone legend, to receive training. Bass responded to this story by saying, “I think this is a great lesson in not only humility, but also love on the part of Newborn —He would not have even bothered to talk to Charles Lloyd if he didn’t want to help him.”

Lloyd has had a connection with Rhodes since 2012, when the Curb Institute brought him back to Memphis for the first time since 1964. Since then, Lloyd has been back to the city three times and has paved the way for other legends to return home to perform at the college and in the Memphis community as well as to encourage young musicians

“Music is in the air. You just reach out and take it--it's there for you. But you have to have skills to be able to do that," Lloyd told the high school students.