Seems that every gem from the 1950’s and 1960’s Jazz catalogue has been mined time and again, so Speakers Corner Kai Seaman could not believe his good fortune when Forest Flower turned up as available. It’s not like Charles Lloyd has been lying under the radar. 78 years old and still going strong as a recording artist and performer. Lloyd’s string of CD’s from the ECM label has enjoyed critical praise and numerous awards for 25 years. Before heading off to ECM, however, Lloyd established himself as a super star. He became one of the few Jazz artists to sell over a million copies of record (with Forest Flower) and opened for some of the greatest rock bands of the 1960’s.
His combination of what became known as world music influences, classical music, and jazz spoke to the flower power generation. Which brings us back to Forest Flower, an album titled close enough to ‘flower child’ to suggest Lloyd’s lasting jazz reputation in many jazz lover’s minds. The album includes an extended version of one Lloyd’s best known songs, -Forest Flowers- presented in two parts (‘sunrise’ and ‘sunset’) that takes up side one.
Side two includes three songs-“Sunrise” and “Sunset”) that takes up side one. Side two includes three songs-“Sorcery”, `Song of Her` and `East of the Sun`. The album is labelled “At Monterey” referring to the group’s performance at the Monterey Jazz Festival on September 18, 1966. However, `Sorcery and `Song of Her` were recorded in the Atlantic Recording Studio in New York ten days earlier. Canned applause is added to the studio recordings, (including airplane noise) is missing.
The live and studio performances blend well together, showcasing Lloyd’s early sophistication that was accessible enough to a crossover audience to sell a boatload of records and make him a superstar. Listened to today, the performances still sound fresh and better than almost anything else that has come along in its wake. This is an essential jazz recording that belongs in the collection of any music lover with the slightest pretense of an interest of Jazz. The live recording was done by Wally Heider, who specialized in on-site recording and who made some of the best sounding live recordings of the twentieth century.
The studio recording was not credited, but was almost certainly done by Atlantic’s Tom Dowd at his purpose build studio on the corner of Broadway and 60th Street on New York’s upper west side. Both the live and studio sound of the original are quite nice – significantly better than most live recordings and top-notch Atlantic studio sound. Kevin Grey of Coherent Audio mastered this reissue from the original master tapes, and the resulting sound is outstanding.
It was a clever move by George Avakian, producer at Atlantic Records, to record live the Charles Lloyd Quartet during their appearance in Monterey, and to release the LP under the title “Forest Flower”. Although the hippy flower-power movement tended towards a rather different musical genre at the end of the Sixties, they were blown away by this music. The four artists attracted masses of people and ensured that every seat was taken and all standing room filled at jazz festivals such as Newport, Molde (Norway), Antibes (France) and the Fillmore East and West. The super group also appeared in Monterey, 120 Km south of San Francisco, the centre of the hippy movement, on 18 September 1966.
On the LP we have the almost 18-minute-long title piece and the standard work “East Of The Sun”, which were recorded at the festival. The disc is complemented by a Keith Jarrett composition and one by Cecil McBee, both of which were recorded in the studio ten days before the festival. Of particular note is the rich interplay, the energy that is palpable throughout, the perfect harmony in each and every change of mood, and the intensity. Even 50 years later, it is quite clear that Charles Lloyd managed to break down the barriers between pop and jazz.
Charles Lloyd is committed to this objective to this very day! All four musicians are still active, although they no longer appear together as a group. Such a special treat for the ears is offered by this newly mastered disc only. This is so easy to recommend for the music, the sound for its being reissued just in time for the 50th anniversary of the “Summer of Love” and for every other reason real and invented. Highly recommended!
“Your ear won’t know where to tune in: to Jarrett’s dazzling jagged runs (that years later show up in Mike Garson’s ‘Alladin Sane’ Bowie accompaniment), or DeJohnette’s driving cymbal work or McBee’s muscular playing on his ‘Song of Her’ or the rousing concluding piece, a speedy take on the standard ‘East of the Sun,’ which the group takes apart and then gleefully re-assembles much to the crowd’s delight. Lloyd’s fleet playing is an album standout. … Kevin Gray’s cut is far superior to my original Atlantic pressing, which despite all of the Dual 1009SK/Shure V15 plays, remains quiet and fully extended on top. However, this reissue is far more dynamic and far better EQ’d, especially in the far more transparent midrange that also manages to well convey the outdoor space.” – Music = 10/11; Sound = 09/11
-Michael Fremer, AnalogPlanet.com
Recording: September 1966 live at Monterey Jazz Festival by Wally Heider
Production: George Avakian
ID: Atlantic – SD1473, Atlantic – 1473, Atlantic – SD-1473, Speakers Corner Records – SD-1473
There are no reviews yet.