Charles Lloyd

Flowering/Warne Marsh

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Like much of saxophonist Charles Lloyd's output from the late '60s, Flowering is a concert recording, this time from Oslo, Norway. Live performance was the natural home for the Lloyd quartet's open-ended, but not prohibitively free-form approach. While this group enjoyed a certain hippie-era cachet, what endures in their music is the timeless value of powerful performances from musicians with few equals. The fact is, it's hard to go wrong with Lloyd's tenor sax and flute and a rhythm section made up of pianist Keith Jarrett, bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Jack DeJohnette. Flowering is slightly more mainstream than some recordings by Lloyd's group. The players generally stick with their principal instruments, Jarrett limits his playing inside the piano, and the tunes are more focused. Even the 14-minute-plus modal vamping of Gabor Szabo's "Gypsy '66" is free of the noodling to which this group occasionally succumbed. The tracks on Warne Marsh are from dates the tenor saxophonist recorded in December 1957 and January 1958. The earlier date is a quartet outing with pianist Ronnie Ball, who, like Marsh, was a Lennie Tristano acolyte. The later tracks are a trio date. Paul Chambers, the bassist throughout, is well recorded, as he walks a relentless counterpoint to Marsh's long lines. Philly Joe Jones is on the quartet tracks; Paul Motian is the drummer for the trio set. Ball is a bit superfluous in this context, which is really about Marsh unspooling his linear, discursive logic in close communication with the bass and drums.

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