02. Forest Flower - Sunset 10:19
03. Sorcery 5:11
04. Song Of Her 5:16
05. East Of The Sun 10:20
Bass – Cecil McBee
Drums – Jack DeJohnette
Piano – Keith Jarrett
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Charles Lloyd
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.
Recorded live at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1966, Forest Flower was the jazz soundtrack of the Flower Power movement. Always accessible and majestic, the Charles Lloyd Quartet was recorded here at the peak of its powers. The title track, "Forest Flower," actually is split into two parts, "Sunrise" and "Sunset," which merge together seamlessly to form a single piece of astonishing unity, with Charles Lloyd, Keith Jarrett, Cecil McBee, and Jack DeJonette playing beyond the point of empathy. There is such sheer beauty and lyricism in the music that 30 years later it still gives goose bumps. It is almost impossible to be unmoved by "Forest Flower—Sunset," particularly when Keith Jarrett reaches inside the piano to pound out extraordinary sounds.
The music, like the band itself, is so fresh and innovative that it caused a mighty stir, eventually reaching Miles Davis himself. Miles picked up on Lloyd's sound and energy, ultimately recruiting DeJohnette and Jarrett, and moving forward to launch the musical revolution known as Bitches Brew. But before all of these radical changes, there was Lloyd, who deserves credit for dramatically expanding the audience for "jazz" to include the hordes of acid-dropping, long- haired children of the 60s. Lloyd built up a new market for jazz artists, inadvertently paving the way for the commercial success of fusion. There are unmistakable elements of rock in the rhythms of DeJohnette and Jarrett, particularly on "Sombrero Sam," but this is not fusion.
Lloyd plays the tenor with a heavy dose of Trane, but never in a way that sounds derivative. Still, it is in his flute playing, as evidenced on "Sombrero Sam," where Lloyd really shines in his individual brilliance. This album captures the spirit of the 60s without sounding the least bit dated. Check it out!