Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Short takes: A couple of new records I've picked up

Charles Lloyd - Journey Within: This is one of a series of very popular records that Lloyd made in the mid to late 60's with his group which included Keith Jarrett on piano, Jack DeJohnette on drums and Cecil McBee or Ron McLure on bass. The group was very popular among west coast rock audiences and this record was recorded live at the Fillmore West. Lloyd's peaceful flute starts things off with a mellow vibe eventually giving way to a subtle group improvisation in the opening title track. Jarrett gets a solo piece next which is romantic and reflective, forshadowing his popular solo concerts of the 1970's. The biggest surprise is "Memphis Green" which finds this normally mellow group in a full fledged post-Coltrane free jazz blowout. You have to wonder if this didn't leave the hippies who came to the Fillmore that night scratching their heads a little bit.

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis - In the Kitchen: Davis was a journeyman tenor saxophonist who made tons of records records, but never quite recieved the attention he was due. He made two big series of records for the Prestige label, a group of epic tenor "battles" with Johnny Griffin and a series of grooving soul-jazz dates with organist Shirley Scott. The time-locked liner notes refer to Scott as a "girl organist." The record offers a really solid mix of blues, bop and ballads, with Davis and Scott leading the charge.

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