Forest Flower: Charles Lloyd At Monterey (Live)

Forest Flower: Charles Lloyd At Monterey (Live)

Forest Flower is the best known of Charles Lloyd’s eight Atlantic releases, all of which showcase rising piano sensation Keith Jarrett. (All but one are live albums.) Along with Jarrett and bassist Cecil McBee, Lloyd features drummer Jack DeJohnette, who reunited with Jarrett in Miles Davis’ groundbreaking electric lineup just a few years later (and went on to spend a quarter-century in Jarrett’s famed Standards Trio). That’s enough to establish the album’s historical significance, but on its own terms Forest Flower is simply some of the most compelling quartet music of the period, a logical next step after Lloyd’s earlier quartet with Hungarian-born guitarist Gábor Szabó. At age 21, Jarrett was already a stunner, as his entrance on Lloyd’s “Forest Flower: Sunrise” makes clear. The tune’s second part, “Sunset,” is the kind of extended jam over static harmony that Jarrett soon began to pursue in his improvised solo concerts. (You can hear a small plane whiz by at 3:13.) The concise program ends with “East of the Sun,” a standard that ties things back to the songbook tradition, giving Lloyd a platform for some brisk uptempo soloing. One of the truly distinctive tenor voices of the day, Lloyd suggests a kind of laidback response to Coltrane, with a bit of Californian flower power in the mix. Despite what the album's title suggests, only three tracks from this George Avakian-produced September 1966 outing were captured at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Jarrett’s composition “Sorcery” (with Lloyd on flute) and McBee’s “Song of Her”—one of the great underrated modern jazz ballads—were recorded in New York 10 days earlier.

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