Review by Thom Jurek [-]When Charles Lloyd brought his new band to Monterey in 1966, a band that included Keith Jarrett on piano, Jack DeJohnette on drums, and the inimitable -- though young -- Cecil McBee on bass, no one knew what to expect. But they all left floored and this LP is the document of that set. It is difficult to believe that, with players so young (and having been together under a year), Lloyd was able to muster a progressive jazz that was so far-reaching and so undeniably sophisticated, yet so rich and accessible. For starters, the opening two title tracks, which form a kind of suite (one is "Forest Flower-Sunrise," the other "Sunset"), showcased the already fully developed imagination of Jarrett as a pianist. His interplay with DeJohnette -- which has continued into the 21st century in a trio with Gary Peacock -- is remarkable: whispering arpeggios surrounded by large chords that plank up the drumming as DeJohnette crosses hands and cuts the time in order to fluctuate the time. Lloyd's own solos are demonstrative of his massive melodic gift: his improvisation skirted the edges of what was happening with Coltrane (as everyone's did), but his own sense of the deep wellspring of song and the cross-pollination of various world musics that were happening at the time kept him busy and lyrical. Elsewhere, on Jarrett's own "Sorcery," his linking front-line harmonics with Lloyd is stellar -- this isn't communication, it's telepathy! Jarrett's angular solo is buoyed up by Lloyd's gorgeous ostinato phrasing. By the time the band reaches its final number, a sky-scorching version of Brooks Bowman's "East of the Sun," they have touched upon virtually the entire history of jazz and still pushed it forward with seamless aplomb. Forest Flower is a great live record.
8-11,14,19: Charles Lloyd In Europe (Atlantic SD 1500)
Review by Thom Jurek [-]Before his great quartet split at the end of 1968, Charles Lloyd took this band literally to the ends of the earth. As a quartet, they had grown immensely from that first astonishing spark when they toured the summer festivals in 1966. Here they are a seasoned unit, full of nuance, elegance, and many surprises, while having moved their entire musical center over to the pursuit of Lloyd's obsession -- incorporating the music of the East into Western jazz. This show in Norway, which featured the original band of Lloyd on flute and saxes, Keith Jarrett on piano, Cecil McBee on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums and percussion, took the idiom begun by John Coltrane and Yusef Lateef and moved it into places even they hadn't imagined. The set starts with "Tagore," a gorgeous flute piece for Lloyd with stunningly ornate percussion from DeJohnette. There is plenty of mystery but there are no edges in this tune, as the two men move from point to counterpoint to mode without seams. Just as quickly, Keith Jarrett enters the picture playing the inside of the piano and a few chords just to lend texture as Lloyd takes it out as softly as he whispered it in. "Karma" is a more conventional piece in that Jarrett creates a gently spiraling harmonic tower for Lloyd to float down from after he climbs it with gorgeous swells and a mournfully beautiful legato. The set ends with "European Fantasy" and "Hej Daj." The first is a slow modal blues, carried out by exquisitely complex harmonics created by Jarrett for both McBee and Lloyd to find their way into. Jarrett gives up nothing in his mystery. Lloyd floats along, touching points here and there before winding it out with the little flute piece at the end, which leaves the audience -- and listeners alike – stunned
21-24: Charles Lloyd Quartet Recorded In Concert - Flowering Of The Original (Atlantic SD 1586)
Review by Scott Yanow Released by Atlantic in 1971 when the Charles Lloyd Quartet was already history, these performances (from the same concert that resulted in Charles Lloyd in Europe) contain some excellent remakes ("Love In/Island Blues" and "Goin' to Memphis"), Gabor Szabo's "Gypsy '66," Cecil McBee's "Wilpan's," and a fine rendition of "Speak Low." Lloyd (whether on tenor or flute), the already impressive pianist Keith Jarrett, bassist McBee, and drummer Jack DeJohnette are heard in enthusiastic form. This set is even a bit better than the In Europe album due to the stronger (if more familiar) material.