Charles Lloyd at Monterey: He Came, He Saw, He Blew Everyone Away

21st September 2016

Title: Forest Flower: Charles Lloyd at Monterey 

Label: Speakers Corner

Lloyd is one of those musicians who is looked up to by other musicians, such is the man’s talents in terms of his invention – especially in the improv field – as well as his democratic outlook, taking rock into jazz with added world flavours to create an advanced fusion style. Doing this since the 60s, the man, from Memphis, Tennessee, has been blowing into the saxophone since he was nine. He was taught by the best (i.e. Irvin Reason) and gigged with them too (i.e. George Coleman, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Howlin’ Wolf and B.B. King).


His seasoned, expansive, stylish playing is all over this, frankly, brilliant LP as it tramples on genre boundaries (there’s plenty of world influence here) or jazz techniques (you’ve got modal jazz here, avant-garde and lots of ‘other’ stuff shoe-horned into the gaps).


The album is a sort of response because Lloyd turned up to the Monterey festival with a largely unknown and publicly untried band so no-one really knew what to expect. After the event, officials were still peeling the audience off the floor, walls and ceiling. This performance stole the show. It was the talk of the show. It was the show. In fact, this was one of the first jazz recordings to sell a million copies. It was all over the radio at the the time, too. The performance showed almost telepathic powers of communication between the group. They were as one with storming solos and to-die-for melodicism.


So, who else have we got here? Who else joins Lloyd? How does Keith Jarrett on piano, Jack DeJohnette on drums and a young Cecil McBeeon bass grab you?


The mastering is smooth and expansive in nature. A highlight being the oh, so fragile treble-infused cymbals plus the restricted bass that does the job of providing a foundation and drive for the track without any invasive bloom. A stupendous live recording.