Charles Lloyd Quartet – Love-In – Atlantic/Warner Bros./ PurePleasure #SD 11481 – audiophile 180 gm vinyl – 1966 ****:
(Charles Lloyd – tenor sax, flute; Keith Jarrett – piano; Ron McClure – bass: Jack DeJohnette – drums, percussion)
Bill Graham was a fearless promoter of mixing musical genres at his concert venues in New York and San Francisco. I remember seeing Miles Davis’ electric jazz band at the Fillmore West hall, between two rock bands back in the late 60s. Graham also brought the full Woody Herman big band to San Francisco in that time period. Bill felt that his young audience should experience a wide mix of music. Few, if any, other promoters were doing this at that time, and it is not seen now either, with the exception of major festivals in Europe and Canada, and they are spread out over many days. Rock bands at jazz festivals now get a separate venue and sole billing.
After the success of the Charles Lloyd Quartet at the 1966 Monterey Jazz Festival, Graham was approached by friends in the Bay Area to see if the quartet could play at the Fillmore Auditorium for a Sunday afternoon concert. Bill was up for the idea, and the plan was for the quartet to do a 30 minute set. The rock audience was so receptive that the group played a long encore. They was the first (of many) jazz groups to play at Graham venues.
Lloyd’s quartet at the time consisted of pianist Keith Jarrett, (who would go on to play with Miles Davis), Ron McClure (who had just replaced Cecil McBee) on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums. Jack has played with everybody over the years, and has had a long tenure over decades with Jarrett.
The seven tracks presented on Love-In, an audiophile vinyl re-release from England’s PurePleasure label, cover mostly Lloyd originals, as well as two Jarrett compositions, and The Beatles’ “Here There and Everywhere.” The arrangements were timely for the mid 60s era, as they mix some modal, fusion, Far East, and blues influences. Lloyd channels both Coltrane and Sonny Rollins on his tenor numbers, and his flute playing fit right in with psychedelic rock, popular at that time.
Keith Jarrett was heavily influenced by blues motifs (and still is, on his solo projects over the years), and Jack DeJohnette is a master of the drums, is comfortable in any setting, whether it be straight ahead blues, or with a heavily propulsive band. He served in both capacities here.
“Tribal Dance” at over ten minutes long, is the primary feature and it pleased the (likely) skeptical rock audience so much that the quartet received strong applause at its conclusion. Its bombastic joyful energy, with Lloyd free blowing and DeJohnette in multiple time signatures, was pleasing to an audience used to rock bands. Jarrett’s piano is a bit distant in the recording mix, but his solo talents are clearly evident to the listener. Lloyd is up and down his tenor, and the group gets locked into a groove much like a Grateful Dead trance set (minus the guitars).
“Temple Bells” has an Asian theme with Charles’ flute taking lead. “Is It Really the Same?” was written by Keith, and it is a straight ahead funky blues. The Beatles’ tune may be the least effective track, but it is presented fairly straight ahead with Lloyd on flute.
Side 2 begins with the title track, being playful,, with Lloyd’s flute setting a Pied Piper mood, and Jarrett’s blues lines blending right in. “Sunday Morning” from Keith, is gospel tinged, and so soulful. On the closing medley, “Memphis Dues Again/Island Blues,” Lloyd takes the opener solo and brings Sonny Rollins to mind when Sonny roamed the stage and played pure improvisation in an inviting joyful fashion. The full quartet takes out the balance of the medley with a Caribbean theme that Rollins also did so well.
The full forty minutes must have been a mind opener for the 60s rock audience, who may have stopped dancing to the accompanying light show shown on the LP’s cover, and opened their ears to the quartet’s joyous jazz. Now I have to wonder, which other bands were on the bill…?
Is It Really the Same?
Here There and Everywhere
Memphis Dues Again/ Island Blues