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KIOS Jazz CD Of The Month: Charles Lloyd / Manhattan Stories / Resonance

Resonance Records has released a number of historic jazz recordings in the last few years. In 2014 the label released the roof-raising John Coltrane: Offering two disc set, featured on Last Call and reviewed on these webpages. The companion recording on the label is the immediately more accessible Charles Lloyd: Manhattan Stories.    
The recording is 90 minutes of reedman Charles Lloyd and his bandmates from 1965: Two previously unreleased concerts recorded in that year, at Jackson Hall and at the famous Slugs' Saloon in New York City. These performances were recorded one year before Lloyd shot to superstardom as a result of his appearance at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1966.

Charles Lloyd was born in Memphis, Tennessee on March 15, 1938. His mentor was the great saxophonist Phineas Newborn, Jr.. Lloyd, a member of Cannonball Adderley's band, was already making a name for himself as a composer by 1965.  Previously he had been the musical director for Chico Hamilton’s group.

For this 1965 series of recordings, Charles Lloyd, saxophone and flute, is joined by Gabor Szabo, guitar; Ron Carter, bass and Pete La Roca Sims on drums. The first disc starts off with a Charles Lloyd original, "Sweet Georgia Bright" . The mood is restless and lively featuring Sims on fire on the drums with a fiery solo from Lloyd and engaging work from Szabo.  The band takes a melodic direction on "How Can I Tell You" with Carter making strong statements on the bass. The disc ends with a presentation of "Lady Gabor", written by the band's guitarist.

The second disc, recorded at Slugs, is the favorite of this reviewer as it seems to have more consistent abandon and freedom musically than the first concert recording.   "Slugs Blues" starts the show and the band is in a relaxed, freewheeling groove to match the mood of Slugs' Saloon. The tune itself features good work from Gabor and Carter.
"Lady Gabor" follows. The performance of this Szabo original is hypnotic, made more so by the added percussion here and Lloyds flute work that, with Szabo's brilliant guitar artistry, is hard to resist.
To close out the disc and the set, Charles Lloyd  is featured prominently on "Dream Weaver", his own number and one of the first performances of this Charles Lloyd gem before an audience.  

Charles Lloyd went on to superstardom the year after these recordings were made with his 1966 hit Forest Flower, one of the first jazz recordings to sell a million copies. After several years of international success and acclaim, that saw Lloyd perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Montreux Jazz Festival and tour the world including the USSR-- Lloyd walked away from the music world. He lived for many years out of the limelight practicing meditation and living a contemplative life because, as Lloyd said, he was “getting off my spiritual moorings”.

Lloyd returned to the scene in the 1980s to introduce to the world the jazz pianist Michel Petrucciani. In the late 1980s after a near-death experience he began recording on the ECM label. Jazz fans may find many brilliant gems from the saxophonist on the noted label, many of which have been featured on the Last Call.

All in all, this 1965 CD set is worth adding to your home jazz library, especially if you are a fan of Charles Lloyd.

Fans interested in seeing Charles Lloyd perform may consider seeing him at the Iowa City Jazz Festival in summer 2015, where he is scheduled to be the headline act.

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Chris Cooke has been a voice on radio in Omaha since 1988. While at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, he studied radio broadcasting, history and religion. Working at KVNO-FM, Cooke hosted a weekend adventuresome jazz show on the station in addition to duties as an on-air announcer on overnights, weekends and holidays. He also worked at KBLZ (the then student-run radio station) as well as KYNE-TV, and The Gateway as a reporter.
In November 1992, Cooke signed on at KIOS-FM and has been there ever since. He has hosted the Tuesday and Thursday editions of Jazz in the Afternoon since 1996 and has also hosted Last Call since that year. A long time fan of jazz music, Cooke enjoys talking with the musicians who make jazz music. He has interviewed Horace Silver, Roy Haynes, Wayne Shorter, David Liebman, Airto Moreira, Jessica Williams and Karrin Allyson, to name a few. While not at the station Cooke maintains a web design consultancy business that has served a number of non-profit and music clients for over 20 years.
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