Charles Lloyd this weekend. One of the first Jazz artists to have a million selling album, his Forest Flower became a staple in most student record collections and on most FM Underground stations. He was considered one of the first crossover Jazz artists and his appeal was such that he became the first Jazz artist to play the Fillmore in 1967, frequently shared the bill with The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Cream. His mashup of Improvisation, avant-garde and Free Jazz was the perfect marriage with Psychedelia and it enhanced his mass appeal to a Rock generation, turning people on to Jazz who had never experienced it before.
It’s also interesting to note that this concert, recorded in Stockholm in April of 1966, also featured a Quartet whose individual members would go on to spread that universal appeal as solo artists and with other ensembles. With Keith Jarrett on piano, Jackie DeJohnette on drums and Cecil McBee on bass. It’s also a pivotal period because, in addition to the success of Forest Flower, it laid the groundwork for a musical journey for Lloyd that included bringing his music to Eastern Europe, to audiences who had never heard live Jazz before. To playing Moscow for the first time at the invitation of the people, rather than the government, and incorporating World Music, which he began experimenting with in the late 1950s.
So Charles Lloyd is a significant figure in Jazz during the 1960s on – although he had gone through several changes, even leaving music for a while, he has been back almost 30 years and continues to be an influence and a crosser of musical lines and styles. It’s the only way.