13 June 2010

Record Club 2

The Records: Charles Lloyd Quartet, Forest Flower and The Flowering
Acquired: I found both records at Jackpot Records during my visit to Portland last month. Jackpot Records is a brilliant name for a record store, by the way. Total cost: $8.
Thoughts on the records: I've liked Charles Lloyd's late-sixties quartet with Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, and Cecil McBee for awhile, but their work has long been a hole in my own library. So I jumped at the chance to get two records recorded during the quartet's artistic and popular peak. Both are live recordings (Forest Flower was recorded at the 1966 Monterey Jazz Festival, The Flowering at Aulaen Hall in Oslo also in 1966)

I started with The Flowering, since it had the better-looking cover (though unfortunately the "DJ Copy" sticker would probably ruin the cover should I try to remove it). Lloyd gets overpowered by the rhythm section at times on the first track due to shoddy amplification, but his unmistakable tone still sounds refreshing. Keith Jarrett tears up the first tune, Kurt Weill's Speak Low. The second tune, Love-In/Island Blues, sounds a bit stale to me today, but Jarrett's solos (and his interplay with DeJohnette) save the tune for me. The record as a whole strikes a fine balance. The quartet gets room to stretch in a live setting, but they don't get so abstract as to lose the listener. When you're trying to reach frequently-stoned college kids during the late sixties, it is a good idea not to stray too far from the listener's comfort zone.

Forest Flower was a bit of a downer, mostly because the first side (containing Lloyd's Forest Flower suite) had so many pops and hisses that I couldn't stand to listen to the entire thing. Such is the risk when buying used vinyl: upon further inspection, I noticed a long, light scratch along the radius of the entire side. I'd be more upset about it if I paid more than $5 for the record. Luckily Side 2 has a nice version of Jarrett's Sorcery with Lloyd on flute. All in all, not a bad transaction.

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