In the early 1980s, Charles Lloyd met the virtuosic 18-year-old French pianist Michel Petrucciani, who eventually coaxed Charles Lloyd from his semi-retirement. The duo toured the world together for several years and released several heralded albums, which British jazz critic Brian Case called "one of the events of the 1980s."
Now confident that Petrucciani had received the recognition he deserved, Lloyd retreated back to the quietude of Big Sur. However, a nearly fatal intestinal disorder suffered in 1986 prompted Lloyd to return to music. "I realized I was really dedicated to this indigenous art form, jazz, and wanted to dedicate the rest of my life to it. I got back on the bus," he said. In 1988, he formed a new quartet with Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson and released his first album with ECM Records, Fish Out of Water. The album would prove to be a benchmark in Lloyd's career, helping to kick off a period of intense creativity and innovation that continues to this day.