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Charles Lloyd - Manhattan Stories (two 1965 concerts)

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I'm really looking forward to this!

Resonance Records to Release
2-Disc Live Set by Charles Lloyd,
"Manhattan Stories,"
September 9


Two 1965 New York Concerts,
Recorded at Judson Hall & Slugs',
Feature Lloyd with His Previously Unrecorded Quartet of
Gabor Szabo, Ron Carter, & Pete La Roca


June 23, 2014


1289.jpg

In the words of a classic TV show, there are eight million stories in the Naked City. Resonance Records uncovers a pair of long-untold tales from New York City's fabled jazz past on Manhattan Stories, due for release on September 9. These two performances capture the always-extraordinary saxophonist and flutist Charles Lloyd in 1965, leading a remarkable and previously unrecorded quartet featuring three jazz giants: guitarist Gábor Szabó, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Pete La Roca.

The story told by these two concerts is one of an already-distinctive voice at the outset of a now-legendary career. In 1965, when these sets were recorded at the now-defunct venues Judson Hall and Slugs', Lloyd was fresh from his stint with drummer and bandleader Chico Hamilton, where he'd first crossed paths with Szabó. Lloyd already had two albums to his name; both Carter and Szabó are heard on his second for Columbia, Of Course, Of Course, from which two titles on these new dates are culled. Within a year he would form his groundbreaking quartet with Keith Jarrett, Cecil McBee, and Jack DeJohnette.

Szabó himself was on the verge of cementing his name in the jazz canon, starting his acclaimed run of Impulse! releases the next year. Carter was midway through his stint with the second great Miles Davis quintet, while La Roca had already worked with a host of names from the music's pantheon, including John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans, and Joe Henderson.

1295.jpgPhoto of Charles Lloyd by Lee Tanner.
© Lisa Tanner Photography.
"It was a specific time and place," Lloyd told Manhattan Stories annotator Don Heckman. "We all felt like the boundaries were being dissolved and we could do or try anything. This is a music of freedom and wonder -- we were young and on the move."

Together, the band embarks on a series of adventurous excursions through pieces like Lloyd's classic "Sweet Georgia Bright" and "Dream Weaver" as well as Szabó's "Lady Gabor," originally recorded by the Chico Hamilton Quintet. Nothing on either disc clocks in at under ten minutes, allowing every member to stretch out and fully explore this mesmerizing material. Manhattan Stories showcases, with more than 80 minutes of music, a truly expressive group interaction that remains otherwise undocumented.

"The first time I heard these recordings, I was blown away and knew immediately how special they were," says co-producer Zev Feldman. "This just might be the holy grail for longtime Charles Lloyd fans like myself who think they've heard it all. No way. Not yet! There have been archival recordings released over the years with the classic quartet featuring Jarrett and DeJohnette, but there's never been a release with this group before -- and not just a group, but a group with four legendary masters. The music and spirit are very exciting.

1296.jpg
Photo of Charles Lloyd and Gábor Szabó
by Hank Parker, courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment.
The interplay between Charles and Gábor alone is a testament to their genius. It's a real gift for us to share this with the world."

The Judson Hall recording comes from the archives of Resonance founder George Klabin, whose trove has previously yielded treasures from Bill Evans and Jimmy Giuffre. In fact, the first disc included here was recorded on a festival date shared with Giuffre that was released this year on the Elemental Music label. The occasion was Charlotte Moorman's Avant Garde Festival of New York, produced by saxophonist and jazz critic Don Heckman, who contributes an essay to Manhattan Stories.

Klabin, then a 19-year-old student at Columbia University, had recently been appointed head of the jazz department at university radio station WKCR-FM and sought to present original recordings as part of his show. He recorded the Judson Hall show with up-close microphone placement techniques and state-of-the-art engineering -- well ahead of 1965 standards. The Slugs' performances were recorded by Bjorn von Schlebrugge, who accompanied Lloyd to his Manhattan gigs.

1297.jpg In 2009, Feldman brought Klabin's tapes to Lloyd's California home to play for the saxophonist, who raised the ante with his own recordings of the quartet. Those tapes, which comprise Disc 2, were made the same year at Slugs', which Feldman calls "one of the most important jazz shrines there ever was. I wanted to celebrate the memory of that club as well." The release thus received not only Lloyd's blessings, but his wife, Dorothy Darr, signed on as co-producer.

For Record Store Day last month, Resonance offered a limited-edition pressing on orange, marble-colored 10-inch, 140-gram vinyl of Live at Slugs', designed to be a collector's piece for fans and as a pre-release teaser of the full release to come. The 10-inch featured two cuts from Manhattan Stories.

1294.jpg Manhattan Stories features the pristine sound quality, extensive liner notes, and meticulously designed artwork that have become Resonance Records' trademarks. In addition to Heckman's reminiscences, the set includes liner notes by Feldman, Willard Jenkins, Stanley Crouch, and renowned producer Michael Cuscuna (who shares executive producer credit with Klabin on this project). The music, which was mixed at Resonance's Los Angeles studios, will also be available as a 2-LP set pressed by audiophile-respected R.T.I. (Record Technology Inc.). It was mastered for CD and vinyl by Bernie Grundman.

"I was determined to build perhaps the most exciting package for Charles ever assembled for one of his releases," Feldman says. "I think we've accomplished that in a way that truly celebrates this master." Manhattan Stories showcases stellar music in an ideal setting -- much as those two NYC venues did on a pair of unjustly forgotten evenings nearly fifty years ago.

Disc 1 (Judson Hall):
  1. Sweet Georgia Bright (17:49)
  2. How Can I Tell You (11:57)
  3. Lady Gabor (12:50)

Disc 2 (Slugs'):

  1. Slugs' Blues (12:57)
  2. Lady Gabor (13:53)
  3. Dream Weaver (15:25)

Web Site: resonancerecords.org
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Now to get recordings of some of those other bands listed - wonder who was in Jackie McLean's Quintet?!?!

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I wanna hear the Roy Haynes Quartet with Wayne Shorter.

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Having heard the recent vinyl release by Resonance of two tracks from "Live at Slugs" I must say I was rather underwhelmed, both with music and the sound....perhaps you had to be there.

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I wanna hear the Roy Haynes Quartet with Wayne Shorter.

Right?!

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Nice...Couldn't they find a little more warranting the two cds?

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I have received word that the street date for this was delayed a week, and that it went on sale yesterday.

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Ordered mine today, can't wait to get/hear it. Love Szabo from that period, and "Lady Gabor" and "Sweet Georgia Bright" are favorities. Always have wished that Mosaic would have done a box of Chico Hamilton's recordings with Lloyd and/or Szabo, which have had very scattershot availability despite their great musical value.

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Having heard the recent vinyl release by Resonance of two tracks from "Live at Slugs" I must say I was rather underwhelmed, both with music and the sound....perhaps you had to be there.

Judson Hall show sounds very fine. Up there with best sounding live recordings from this era. All but one (Dream Weaver I think) of the classic Lloyd Quartet with Jarrett recs are live and only Forest Flower compares.

Slug's is not as good but still nice to my ears. There's tons of much worse sounding recordings which people still go apeshit over.

Not to say anything about musicianship but sure, Charles Lloyd is no Coltrane by any means.

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Having a listen to this as we speak...impressive enough, to be sure, especially for the Szabo/Carter/Trio. Lloyd himself, too, better than most of the Columbias & Atlantics, less gesture, more playing, although that's a relative matter, not an absolute one.

I've come along with Charles Lloyd to the point that I think I more or less completely understand why both the deriders and worshippers feel as they do, so for me to say that this release is maybe a notch above the norm for Lloyd probably means nothing, but that's what I'll say anyway.

That, and, this music, this band, in NYC, in 1965. not enough drugs or politics in it to take root in that soil, so the move back to California and the formation of the new band and the whole Flower Power appeal was likely every bit as natural in some regards as it was contrived in others. Same world, different places (and spaces) (and speeds).

And finally, hello Pete LaRoca!

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I thought he had a habit that required his absence from the scene at the close of the '60s.

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Maybe so? Don't know. But there's an extroverted sunshine-y surface to this music that's not at all "1965 NYC junkie"-ish, and I say that very advisedly knowing full well that there's no such real thing except as a broad generalization.

One thing for sure though, if he did have a habit, it didn't take all his money. That dude, when he took his time off, he invested in some Big Sur real estate and went to chill out totally flush. If he did that and was strung out, hey, kudos, nice work if you can get it.

I also remember Dave Liebman telling the story of how Charles Lloyd was his Big Jazz Hero that he could actually be around in real life, like he was a Charles Lloyd Tenor Groupie, and that one of his (Liebman's) biggest thrills was driving Lloyd around to buy a Maserati. Liebman kinda dismissed it as the youthful hero worship that it was, but, still, this is where Lloyd was at financially. Not broke, not bitter, taking the money and running with it. Again, nice work if you can get it, but if in 1965 NYC Jazz World, not the sort of thing that gets you in with the in-crowd, if you know what I mean.

Yet and still, there's some very good playing on this collection, and Pete LaRoca (another one of Liebman's youthful heroes, and there's a not yet fully told story of all the young white jazz musicians of mid-late 1960s NYC and who they were hanging with in their formative years...certain names keep popping up, and LaRoca is one of them) is dealing, as is Ron Carter. It's almost like a good Herbie Mann band, that one with Bruno Carr & Miroslav anchoring it, only Gabor & Lloyd are at a much higher level than anybody in that band (Sonny Sharrock, different game altogether, so do not compare), and Ron Carter is bringing his A-game too.

It's just...totally out of sync with the prevalent Blue Note/ESP/Etc vibe that stereotypically defines that time/place. totally. And not in a bad way either.

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At the Resonance website, 40% off sale, with Promo Code BFS2014 through December 1.

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At the Resonance website, 40% off sale, with Promo Code BFS2014 through December 1.

Hmm - maybe with that discount I'll get it.

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That's got to be a bargain. Shame the postage is $28 to UK!

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Except the Code doesn't seem to work today.

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Did for me before I ducked out at the postage.

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The Code did work for me today. A pretty good deal on the Scott LaFaro release ($9) and the Charles Lloyd ($14).

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Picked this up. So far have just listened to the first disc. I'm a big fan of pre-Atlantic Lloyd and this one doesn't disappoint (though I'd put it behind Discovery if I had to choose). Lloyd's less obviously influenced by Coltrane here than on some later recordings.

I'm surprised nobody has yet commented on the hilarious Hugh Lawson ("Hugh Glover") anecdote in the liner notes!

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So I got around to the 2nd disc, the one recorded at Slugs. I think it's better than the Judson Hall performance.

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Spectacular release, a dream-come-true sort of thing for me. Totally lives up to my lofty hopes for it.

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I like the Slugs recording much more than the Judson Hall.

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