Charles Lloyd began playing saxophone at age ten. Initially an alto player in R & B bands, he performed with such established artists as B.B. King and Bobby Bland while still in Memphis. In 1956 he moved west, studying music composition at the University of Southern California. By mid-1965 he had formed his own group; this group became popular in the late sixties and was among the first jazz groups to play larger halls, most notably the Fillmore. Though his popularity faded after the personnel of the quartet changed, Lloyd remained musically active into the 1970s.