Home » Jazz Articles » Charles Lloyd: Manhattan Stories


Album Review

Charles Lloyd: Manhattan Stories


Sign in to view read count
Charles Lloyd: Manhattan Stories
In most cases, the folklore of a happening is much stronger than the actual event. The "older I get, the better it was" credo applies to so much of the remembered past. Not so for the only documented recordings by Charles Lloyd's Quartet of guitarist Gabor Szabo, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Pete La Roca.

Lloyd who, in 1965, had left his residency as musical director for Chico Hamilton and member of Cannonball Adderly's band, gathered Szabó (from Hamilton's employment) and formed this quartet. He would soon record Of Course, Of Course (Columbia, 1968) with Tony Williams replacing Sims. And that, as they say, was all she wrote. Gábor Szabó moved into a leaders role , Carter remained with Miles Davis's Quintet, and Sims became the drummer of choice for many Blue Note sessions. Lloyd's quartet morphed into the legendary unit of Keith Jarrett, Cecil McBee, and Jack DeJohnette, giving us the classic Atlantic recordings Dream Weaver (1966), The Flowering (1966) In Europe (1966), and Forest Flower (1968).

This short-lived, and until now, unheard quartet is quite the find. Lloyd was confronting the weight of the saxophone innovators John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, and forging his own path. The two live recordings heard here are quite different. Disc one was recorded in the pristine environment of Judson Hall by then Columbia student (now head of Resonance Records) George Klabin. The second session was made in the rough and tumble environs of The East Village at Slugs Saloon.

Each disc presents three tracks, none shorter than 12 minutes. This allows for the players to stretch out, yet each track maintains a consistent motif. "Sweet Georgia Bright" opens The Judson Hall date with, not "Sweet Georgia Brown," but Lloyd's extemporaneous take on Thelonious Monk's "Bright Mississippi." The gem here, though, is "How Can I Tell You," his tribute to Billie Holiday. Lloyd begins with the sound of Coltrane's blues to build a cogent and eloquent solo of devastating elegance.

The tavern date opens with a spontaneous blues, "Slug's Blues." It is raggedy, joyful, sweaty, music making. Ron Carter's bass stands as a pillar for LaRoca to batter and Lloyd to launch. Heard on both dates is Szabó's piece "Lady Gabor." A sort of blues raga. The mesmerizing sounds wrap the guitarist's Hungarian roots with his passion for Gypsy, Asian, and Indian music. Lloyd complements with a full range of sound that he coaxes from his flute. The Slug's version comes with the grittiness and cash register sounds of a crowd. A very happy crowd

Track Listing

CD1: Sweet Georgia Bright; How Can I Tell You; Lady Gabor; CD2: Slugs’ Blues; Lady Gabor; Dream Weaver.


Charles Lloyd: tenor saxophone, flute; Gábor Szabó: guitar; Ron Carter: bass; drummer Pete La Roca: drums.

Album information

Title: Manhattan Stories | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Resonance Records

Post a comment about this album

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.



Caught in the Rhythm
Benjamin Boone
Ten Stories
Precarious Towers
John La Barbera Big Band


Double Portrait
Giuseppe Millaci and the Vogue Trio
Afro Futuristic Dreams
Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids
Pharoah (Box Set)
Pharoah Sanders
Dynamic Maximum Tension
Darcy James Argue's Secret Society

On the record

Vibes on a Breath
Ted Piltzecker
Jonathan Karrant
Brazilian Match
Luiz Millan
Double Portrait
Giuseppe Millaci and the Vogue Trio

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.