"Forest Flower" in Full Flower on Speakers Corner AAA Reissue

Charles Lloyd's young group, together but a year, played this set September 8th 1966 at the Monterey Jazz Festival, opening with the title tune—actually the two-in-one "Forest Flower-Sunrise" and "Forest Flower-Sunset", both lilting, hypnotic and mesmerizing "hippie-like" tunes that presaged in its mood the next year's "Summer of Love" Monterey Pop Festival.

Side one's melodic swing and sway gives way to more adventurous fare on the side two. Given the group's short time together, its cohesion and adventurousness are remarkable but considering the pianist was Keith Jarrett, the bassist Cecil McBee and and the drummer Jack DeJohnette, perhaps it's less remarkable than it might initially seem. What an ensemble!

Lloyd switches from tenor sax to flute for Jarrett's driving "Sorcery". Your ear won't know where to tune in: to Jarrett's dazzling jagged runs (that years later show up in Mike Garson's "Alladin Sane" Bowie accompaniment), or DeJohnette's driving cymbal work or McBee's muscular playing on his "Song of Her" or the rousing concluding piece, a speedy take on the standard "East of the Sun", which the group takes apart and then gleefully re-assembles much to the crowd's delight. Lloyd's fleet playing is an album standout.

In the actual concert "East of the Sun" follows "Forest Flower" but because of LP side length limitations it ends the record. Let's hear it for side limitations because in this case "East of the Sun" is a great album closer.

The Wally Heider recording so effectively captures the outdoors, when you play the record you can almost smell the California air. This was the Friday afternoon, school's out "go to" record my roommates and I would play after breaking out and consuming some of the weed we kept stashed in the detached garage next to our apartment. It was an every Friday ritual for the entire spring 1967 semester (the record was released mid-winter 1967) and so first play of this reissue sourced from the original tape resulted in a pleasing "contact high"!

Kevin Gray's cut is far superior to my original Atlantic pressing, which despite all of the Dual 1009SK/Shure V15 plays, remains quiet and fully extended on top. However, this reissue is considerably more dynamic and far better EQ'd, especially in the more transparent midrange that also manages to well-convey the outdoor space.

This is so easy to recommend for the music,f or the luscious sound, for its being reissued just in time for the 50th anniversary of the "Summer of Love" and for every other reason, real and invented. Highly recommended!

Music Direct Buy It Now

GruvyWade's picture

Pete Townshend mentions this album in his autobiography, Who I Am. Apparently it was a big influence for him!

I'll be checking this new version out, for sure. It may catapult me to stardom. I'll need to form a band, first, however.

avanti1960's picture

a great source for new (albeit reissued) music!
please keep sharing the music you like- even if it isn't new and hasn't been reissued in a while.

-tony, suburban chicago

Les3201's picture

I just picked this up based on your recommendation. It is certainly is a great live recording including full bass and piano sound. The playing is spectacular and the material s great. Thanks.