Saturday, February 17, 2018

Charles Lloyd - 1972 - Waves

Charles Lloyd 

01. TM 4:58
02. Pyramid 7:08
03. Majorca 6:10
04. Harvest 8:57
05. Waves 5:15
06. Rishikisha 5:14
07. Hummingbird 1:36
08. Rishikesh 1:24
09. Seagull 2:14

Bass – Wolfgang Melz (tracks: A1 to B2)
Drums – Woodrow Theus II (tracks: A1 to B2)
Flute – Charles Lloyd (tracks: A3, B2, B3a to B3c)
Flute [Alto] – Charles Lloyd (tracks: A2)
Guitar – Gabor Szabo (tracks: A1, A3, B1), Tom Trujillo (tracks: A2, B2, B3a to B3c)
Guitar [12 String] – Roger McGuinn (tracks: A1, B2)
Percussion – Mayuto (tracks: A1, A3, B1), Woodrow Theus II (tracks: A1, B3a to B3c)
Saxophone [Tenor] – Charles Lloyd (tracks: A1, B1)

An often maligned and underrated album this is actually some primetime spiritual fusion jazz. Featuring a stellar cast of musicians. The legendary Gabor Szabo plays some adventurous and free-spirited guitar on 3 of the tracks. Gabor's then bassist Wolfgang Metz delivers some highclass fusion/world music playing, being busy and yet precise and to the point.

In a somewhat different vein the opening track "TM" features three Beach Boys: Mike Love, Carl Wilson and Al Jardine as well as Pamela Polland and Roger McGuinn. A lush vocal number somewhat reminding of Love's "All This Is That". Love also delivers some spiritual musings on "Rishikisha:Rishikesh". (Both Love and Lloyd great TM-enthusiasts).

Charles Lloyd - 1971 - Warm Waters

Charles Lloyd
Warm Waters

01. All Life Is One
02. How Sweet
03. Memphis Belle
04. Freedom
05. Dear Dr. Ehret
06. Rusty Toy
07. New Anthem / Warm Waters
08. It's Getting Late / Malbiu / Goodnight

Charles Lloyd, tenor sax, flute, electric piano, organ, vocals
Eric Sherman, violin
Michael Cohen, piano, organ, vocals
Carl Wilson, synthesizer, vocals
John Cipollina, guitar
Jesse Edwin Davis, guitar
Dave Mason, guitar
Tom Trujillo, guitar, bass
Bill Wolff, guitar, vocals
Kenneth Jenkins, bass, vocals
Woodrow Theus III, drums, percussion
James Zitro, drums, vocals
Billy Cowsill, vocals
Rhetta Hughes, vocals
Al Jardine, vocals
Mike Love, vocals
Michael O'Gara, vocals
Brian Wilson, vocals

Some years back I was yacking with Scott Miller* about "cracked" records by "straight" artists. I was obsessing over both the Beach Boys' Wild Honey and Alex Chilton's Flies on Sherbert. Miller asked if I had heard Charles Lloyd's Warm Water. "Charles Lloyd? The guy who did all those jazz albums geared towards hippies?" Same guy, Miller told me. He said he know a place that had one in a dollar bin and he'd snag it for me. A week later he made good on his word.

I took the record home and listened to it and it is indeed cracked. What is cracked? Well, it is a record made by an artist, who usually makes pretty straight forward records, but at this point in their career they are on some (hopefully) temporary skid or diversion and start turning out music that is a bit unhinged - musically, emotionally, creatively... Because of the circumstances an artist's cracked record is often his rawest and sometimes his most honest. Classic examples are The Beach Boys' Wild Honey, which is Brian Wilson at his most desperate, Alex Chilton's Flies on Sherbert, and Skip Spence's Oar. Whether or not Syd Barrett's solo albums or post Elevators Roky Erickson qualify is debatable. Charles Lloyd's Warm Waters certainly does.

Prior to Warm Waters, Lloyd had played sax on classic records by Chico Hamilton, Les McCann, and Cannonball Adderley. Starting in the mid-Sixties he cut a handful of records as leader, with Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette which were quite popular with the hippie crowd, partially because Lloyd made the commercially smart move of playing place like the Filmore with psychedelic bands. In 1971, he played on a Beach Boys record. Soon after he recorded Warm Waters.

Think about the Beach Boys in 1971 and the thing that should come to mind is a lot of drugs, trendy mysticism, psycho psychologists, and other forms of mindfuck. Charles Lloyd was pretty solid in with those cats (Brian & Carl Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine guest on Warm Waters, as do John Cipolina and Dave Mason). He also was a practicing fruitarian (as in he ate nothing but fruit). Listen to the songs here and you know something different is going on. The lyrics on Warm Waters are both personal and abstract, spiritual and full of pain. Put those words in the almost distant, near fading voice you hear on the record and it is obvious that Lloyd was either on some kind of skid or going through a serious transition.

After Warm Waters - called his first and worst pop album by many Lloyd loyalists - his music started to get a bit straighter, sound a bit more together. He made some more pop albums, equally obscure though not as pained as Warm Waters, and guested on records by Gabor Szabo, Harvey Mandel, Canned Heat, Roger McGuinn, and the Beach Boys. By the late Seventies he was back doing jazz, releasing records on Pacific Jazz, Blue Note, and ECM. Whatever tunnel Lloyd was traveling in during the early 70s, his ECM years showed that he had emerged and found a nice quiet, meditative ECM style existance.

Personally I prefer the cracked Charles Lloyd.

*obligatory "Nar/Bananas/Tikimen" Scott Miller not "Game Theory/Loud Family" Scott Miller disclaimer

Scott Soriano

The Charles Lloyd Quartet - 1971 - The Flowering

The Charles Lloyd Quartet 
The Flowering

01. Speak Low 8:26
02. Love-In / Island Blues 6:19
03. Wilpan's 6:39
04. Gypsy '66 14:11
05. Goin' To Memphis / Island Blues 7:04

Bass – Cecil McBee
Drums – Jack DeJohnette
Sax, Flute – Charles Lloyd
Piano – Keith Jarrett

Recorded in concert at Aulean Hall, Oslo, Norway.

The Flowering is one of the best of the late 60s Charles Lloyd albums on Atlantic -- inferior only to Dream Weaver, in my opinion. Lloyd's tenor playing, occasionally noodly or unfocused on some of this quartet's recordings, is quite powerful here. The rest of the quartet (Keith Jarrett, Cecil McBee, and Jack DeJohnette) is in fine form on these 1966 live recordings from Europe. The material leans quite heavily on progressive post-bop, with less of the accessible crossover material that appears on other recordings.

The album opens with a brisk take on Kurt Weill's "Speak Low", including a great solo introduction by Lloyd. "Love-In" gets a more mellow, less peppy interpretation than on the album of that same name; after a gospelly solo by Keith Jarrett, it leads to the first of two versions of "Island Blues", this time with Lloyd on flute. "Wilpan's" is an up-tempo modal number composed by McBee, reminiscent of "Impressions" and "So What". "Gypsy '66" (aka Gabor Szabo's "Lady Gabor") gets an intense, lengthy workout with some intense Lloyd flute and one of Jarrett's best solos from this period. The album closes with yet another medley including "Island Blues", this time with a nice downhome solo by Lloyd on tenor.

Charles Lloyd - 1970 - Moon Man

Charles Lloyd 
Moon Man

01. Moonman I 3:30
02. I Don't Care What You Tell Me 2:59
03. Sermon 1:08
04. Sweet Juvenia 6:08
05. Heavy Karma 9:18
06. Hejira 7:10
07. Ship 2:15
08. Moonman II 8:20

Charles Lloyd, tenor sax, flute, vocals, Theremin
Michael Cohen, keyboards
Kenneth Jenkins, bass
James Zitro, drums
Bob Jenkins, vocals, sitar
Ned Doheny, vocals, guitar

Los Angeles, CA, July 9, 1970

The master reedman experienced an unmatched level of popularity for a jazz musician in the late 1960s. Lloyd (b. 1938) and his quartet, which featured a young Keith Jarrett on piano and Jack DeJohnette on drums, packed clubs and captivated festival audiences worldwide. Voted Jazzman of the Year by Down Beat Magazine in 1967, Lloyd was for a time the darling of both critics and fans. The Charles Lloyd Quartet played universities and the ballrooms and auditoriums of the psychedelic rock circuit, sharing stages with the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, the Byrds, and other 1960s psych-rock icons.

Lloyd's "love vibrations communicated a message of unity, openness, and acceptance to counterculture youth. In the turbulent late 1960s, when young people sought a messenger to speak the truth they were seeking, Lloyd was their "friendly big brother and their pied piper. His music was warm, inviting, and peaceful, unlike the abrasive, aggressive protest statements made by many of his 1960s contemporaries. It provided a sonic backdrop and soothing soundtrack for a generation of alienated youth.

After reaching this early pinnacle of success, Lloyd's activity decreased significantly. However, his career in the 1970s is consistently misunderstood; his "retirement was never as dramatic as many like to think. Drugs, depression, frustration with the recording industry, and increased interest in his developing spirituality inspired periods of reclusion. He toured and performed less frequently, though he remained busy with studio work and never totally put his horn down.

Jazz fans lost track of Lloyd in the 1970s, as he was channeling the majority of his musical energy outside of the normal jazz realm. Inspired by his work in the psychedelic circuit he recorded folk-rock records of his own, including Moon Man (Kapp, 1970) and Warm Waters (Kapp, 1971). A common interest in Transcendental Meditation sparked a friendship and collaborations with the Beach Boys. Mike Love and Al Jardine provided vocals, arrangements, and compositions on Lloyd's early 1970s albums and Lloyd's deft flute work is prominently heard on the Beach Boys' Surf's Up (Reprise, 1971). He even joined their touring band in 1977. Lloyd's services were also requested in the studio by groups such as The Doors, Canned Heat, and former Byrds frontman Roger McGuinn.

Lloyd's music is complex and advanced, yet even in its most adventurous moments it remains accessible. He is one of the purest melodists alive today, blessed with the ability to sing through his instrument and tug at the emotions of all who hear him. After hearing Billie Holiday early in his life, he yearned to become a singer, but realized he did not have the voice. He soon got his first saxophone, vowing to express himself and sing passionately through his horn. Like that of a vocalist, his music weaves through a wide gamut of emotions—reflective, joyous, dark, mellow, and reaching—and it always stays grounded by retaining its earthy folkiness.

There is a genuine universality in the music of Charles Lloyd. He acts as a conduit of the varied experiences of life, channeling Zen-like peacefulness and understanding to his listeners. His dedication to the music is stronger than ever and his approach is more purposeful. Passionate and sincere, each breath blown through his instrument has deep significance. This truly comes to light when seeing him perform. Audiences can not only hear, but see and feel his intent as his presence on stage is magically captivating and utterly heart warming.

Charles Lloyd - 1970 - In The Soviet Union

Charles Lloyd 
In The Soviet Union: Recorded At The Tallinn Jazz Festival

01. Days And Nights Waiting 6:55
02. Sweet Georgia Bright 18:05
03. Love Song To A Baby 12:22
04. Tribal Dance 10:05

Bass – Ron McClure
Drums – Jack DeJohnette
Sax, Flute – Charles Lloyd
Piano – Keith Jarrett

Recorded at the International Jazz Festival, "Tallinn 1967", Kalevi Sport Hall, Tallinn, Estonia, U.S.S.R., May 14, 1967.

The Charles Lloyd Quartet was (along with Cannonball Adderley's band) the most popular group in jazz during the latter half of the 1960s. Lloyd somehow managed this feat without watering down his music or adopting a pop repertoire. A measure of the band's popularity is that Lloyd and his sidemen (pianist Keith Jarrett, bassist Ron McClure and drummer Jack DeJohnette) were able to have a very successful tour of the Soviet Union during a period when jazz was still being discouraged by the communists. This well-received festival appearance has four lengthy performances including an 18-minute version of "Sweet Georgia Bright" and Lloyd (who has always had a soft-toned Coltrane influenced tenor style and a more distinctive voice on flute) is in top form.

Charles Lloyd - 1969 - Soundtrack

Charles Lloyd 

01. Sombrero Sam 10:26
02. Voice In The Night 8:47
03. Pre-Dawn 2:34
04. Forest Flower '69 16:51

Bass – Ron McClure
Drums – Jack DeJohnette
Flute, Tenor Saxophone – Charles Lloyd
Piano – Keith Jarrett

Recorded at Town Hall, NYC, 15 Nov. 1968

Soundtrack, stomps with all the fury of a live gospel choir trying to claim Saturday night for God instead of the other guy... The band is in a heavy Latin mood, where the blues, samba, bossa, hard bop, modal, and even soul are drenched in the blues. With only four tunes presented, the Charles Lloyd Quartet, while a tad more dissonant than it had been in 1966 and 1967, swings much harder, rougher, and get-to-the-groove quicker than any band Lloyd had previously led... This band would split soon after, when Jarrett left to play with Miles Davis, but if this was a live swansong, they couldn't have picked a better gig to issue.

Charles Lloyd - 1968 - Nirvana

Charles Lloyd 

01. Island Blues
02. Carcara
03. Long Time, Baby
04. East of the Sun (And West of the Moon)
05. Love Theme from "In Harm's Way"
06. Sun Dance
07. You Know (From "Ecco")
08. One for Joan / Freedom Traveler

Charles Lloyd, tenor sax, flute
Gabor Szabo, guitar
Ron Carter, bass
Tony Williams, drums

Columbia Studios, Studio A, NYC, May 8, 1964

Nirvana is an unusual compilation that was rush-released in 1968 after Lloyd’s quartet with pianist Keith Jarrett and drummer Jack DeJohnette transcended typical jazz popularity with emerging rock audiences to become one of the single most popular jazz groups of its day. Aside from producing a plethora of excellent music for the Atlantic label in the late 1960s, this quartet remarkably never condescended to demean their creativity with any sort of crossover appeal like electrics, boogaloo rhythms or mind-numbing 4/4 ostinati. 

Strange as it is, Nirvana is pretty darned good and more guitar driven than anything else Lloyd would later become known for doing. Columbia took eight unreleased tunes Lloyd had recorded for the label – many of which were outtakes from the brilliant Of Course, Of Course (Columbia, 1965) album with Lloyd, guitarist Gabor Szabo, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams – and combined them with “One For Joan” and “Freedom Traveler,” the first two Lloyd compositions from the Chico Hamilton album Drumfusion (Columbia, 1962).

It wasn’t exactly what the group’s fans wanted to hear and the album was soon forgotten and deleted. Many years later, the spectacularly perfect Of Course, Of Course was reissued on CD (Mosaic, 2006), with three of the most obvious Lloyd-Szabo-Carter-Williams titles from Nirvana included as bonus cuts (“East of the Sun,” “Island Blues” and “Sun Dance”). 

Charles Lloyd - 1968 - In Europe

Charles Lloyd 
In Europe

01. Tagore 9:48
02. Karma 3:44
03. Little Anahid's Day 6:13
04. Manhattan Carousel 8:40
05. European Fantasy 5:26
06. Hej Da! (Hey Daw) 2:46

Bass – Cecil McBee
Drums – Jack DeJohnette
Piano – Keith Jarrett
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Charles Lloyd

Recorded in concert at Aulaen Hall, Oslo, Norway, on October 29, 1966

In Europe was recorded in 1966, when the group was in its prime. (Part of the album The Flowering was also recorded at the same concert.) While none of the pieces are as well-known as Forest Flower, they showcase a fairly wide breadth of the quartet's work. "Little Anahid's Day" is a lovely waltz with Lloyd on flute, while "Manhattan Carousel" is one of my favorite pieces/performances by this group - a great start-stop avant-bop piece. Cecil McBee's great bass playing is highlighted here. The prior two tunes are the highlights of the album, but the rest of the album is not without interest. "Tagore" is an intriguing, though not entirely compelling, early look at the fusion of Indian music and jazz - Lloyd provides some exotic flute noodling while Keith Jarrett plays with the strings of the piano and Jack DeJohnette lays down a slow rockish groove. "Karma" and "European Fantasy" are both out-of-tempo tone poems - the former is prettier, like Coltrane's "After the Rain", the second more avant-gardeish. "Hej Da!" is the piece known on the ECM albums as "The Crossing" or "Prometheus". The ECM versions are better.