Charles Lloyd: Just Before Sunrise

Jim Santella By

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The reissue of two mid-1960’s Charles Lloyd Quartet Atlantic albums comprises this 90-minute 2-CD set from 32 Jazz. Offering leading-edge hard bop fire with spotlights on all four members of his quartets, Lloyd traveled around the world to spread this message. In the past few years, Joel Dorn’s 32 Records has reissued a wide selection of work by significant jazz artists including Woody Shaw, Eddie Harris, Etta Jones, Donald Byrd, Roland Kirk, Yusef Lateef, Mark Murphy and Groove Holmes. Their catalog is listed at http://www.32records.com/ , while Joel Dorn’s interview with Chris Slawecki may be found in All About Jazz’s interview archive at http://www.allaboutjazz.com/iviews/joeldorn.htm .

Lloyd, 61, burst on the jazz scene in the ‘60s; first with the Chico Hamilton Quintet, then with Cannonball Adderley, and finally with his quartet heard on Just Before Sunrise. Charles Lloyd intentionally retreated from the jazz world in the early ‘70s, but has since returned. A handful of ECM albums in the ‘90s and a return to the club scene has resulted in a refinement of the saxophonist’s personal style. Always exploring, always weaving between the avant-garde and jazz’s modern mainstream, Lloyd continues to create fascinating music. Douglas Payne’s review of the saxophonist’s 1999 album Voice In The Night appears with last month’s All About Jazz CD reviews. Photos of Charles Lloyd from several recent performances are online at http://www.exclusive-ent.com/charles_lloyd.htm .

Dream Weaver was recorded and originally released in 1966 as [Atlantic 1459]. "Autumn Sequence" is a medley centered on everybody’s favorite, "Autumn Leaves," with Lloyd on flute. DeJohnette plays forcefully, McBee is lyrical, Jarrett leans toward the outer limits, and the flutist takes liberties with his pitch. The quartet "spoke in a different language" back then, and that timeless music has since been folded into jazz’s mainstream. Lloyd switches to tenor for his "Dream Weaver," which is a medley beginning with a slow and dreamy "Meditation," before launching into a dramatic "Dervish Dance." Jarrett and Lloyd push the leading edge while McBee and DeJohnette lay down a strong foundation. Quite noticeable are the roots of gospel and blues in Lloyd’s up-tempo dance. The tempo accelerates considerably for the saxophonist’s tribute "Bird Flight." With solos all around, maintaining speed and throwing staccato bullets, the quartet shoots from the hip. "Sombrero Sam" is laid-back and easygoing in theory, but hard charging and substantive in practice. Jarrett leads the piece with a salute to Horace Silver, as flutist Lloyd weaves the contrasting melody through its course. "Love Ship" is a dreamy saxophone ballad with straight-ahead piano interlude, which serves to introduce the next album.

Love-In was originally released in 1967 as [Atlantic 1481]. Recorded live at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, the session includes two pieces written by Jarrett and four by Lloyd. "Temple Bells" and "Tribal Dance" offer suitable imagery on saxophone and flute respectively. The latter includes exotic sounds from the piano’s strings, as Jarrett strums to accompany the soloist. While the session’s recorded sound isn’t as pure as studio quality, the quartet’s spirit is effervescent. Jarrett’s "Sunday Morning" and "Is It Really the Same?" offer a lighter blues-derived look at Jarrett’s piano artistry.

Before moving to Los Angeles in the 1950s Charles Lloyd started out in his native Memphis, working with blues artists such as B.B. King and Bobby Blues Bland. "Memphis Dues Again" and "Island Blues" feature Lloyd’s tenor in a lighthearted rollicking blues vein that captures the same aura as 1960’s hits like Ramsey Lewis’ "Wade in the Water" and "‘In’ Crowd." With a light Latin rhythm, the Lennon-McCartney pop favorite "Here There and Everywhere" is a straightforward approach, while the title track cruises along to a rock ‘n’ roll rhythm. Lloyd is at his best with flute on "Love-In," appealing to a wide spectrum with popular ties, while inserting creative ideas as he sees fit.

Track Listingfor Dream Weaver : Autumn Sequence; Dream Weaver; Bird Flight; Love Ship; Sombrero Sam.

Personnelfor Dream Weaver : Charles Lloyd- tenor sax, flute; Keith Jarrett- piano; Cecil McBee- bass; Jack DeJohnette- drums.

Track Listingfor Love-In : Tribal Dance; Temple Bells; Is It Really the Same?; Here There and Everywhere; Love-In; Sunday Morning; Memphis Dues Again/Island Blues.

Personnelfor Love-In : Charles Lloyd- tenor sax, flute; Keith Jarrett- piano; Ron McClure- bass; Jack DeJohnette- drums.

Title: Just Before Sunrise | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: 32 Records


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