The Jazz Universe Inside My Head

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Classic Review

Charles Lloyd
Forest Flower: Live in Monterey
Year: 1966
Label: Rhino

My friend Matthew, who always hooks it up, gave me this Charles Lloyd live record, Forest Flower: Live in Monterey, and told me with true passion in both his eyes and vocal delivery that it was out of this world. After the first spin, I walked over and started it over again in a gleeful trance. Its feeling is dizzyingly beautiful…playfully elegant. I don’t know. It feels real nice listen after fresh listen.

First off, the band on that day at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1966, a young one at that, is bouncing off one another in joyful moods. Sometimes it’s intense and the music makes you awake high, while other instances could relax you to sleep. Keith Jarrett, who had just turned 21, Jack DeJohnette, at just 24, and Cecil McBee couldn’t have rounded off a better quartet for Lloyd’s bright excursions.

The album opens with “Forest Flower: Sunrise,” which really sets up the pent up explosion of “Forest Flower: Sunset.” The first few minutes of Lloyd’s sax on “Sunset” is elevated melodic bliss to put it simply, so beautiful it must be heard! Jarrett takes command after Lloyd’s peak and lays down an amazing range of rolling sprinkle keys. The band fades out slowly into the sunset in sweet affection…

Jarrett’s “Sorcery,” is a commanding track that really builds into a whizzing fling of Lloyd’s flute that flys and high-low dissonance from the young pianist. After the album’s opening intensity, McBee’s “Song of Her” slows the mood down perfectly. Jarrett especially shines in the sincere ballad! Pick that pace right back up with the swinging freshness of “East of the Sun.” DeJohnette provides nearly nonstop tapping with great time changes and McBee lays down a sweet solo.

The album ends off with “Forest Flower ’69,” which serves as an intense bookend to the album’s opening suite. DeJohnette blows up near the beginning and Jarrett jumps into the rubble to lash out like you know he does. Jarrett’s amazing! Lloyd enters to lead; then DeJohnette shows his sick chops. It’s all fine playin’. A good-old steady groove heats up and then settles down to loud applause. This is just one of the most intelligently fun, yet significantly sophisticated live jazz albums of all time!

Some Tunes I've Been Soaking In:

Chico Hamilton The Dealer
Ornette Coleman Something Else!!!!
The Bad Plus Blunt Object: Live in Tokyo
Paco De Lucia Entre Dos Aquas
Booker Little Out Front


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