Charles Lloyd Quartet – Love In
Recorded Live at Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, January 1967

Fifty years before Kamasi Washington was spreading his expansive vision of jazz at various concert festivals around the world, Charles Lloyd and his bubbling quartet were granting similar experiences to audiences devoted to the growing rock scene spreading during the soul-searching sixties. Love-In captures the Charles Lloyd Quartet in the midst of their white-hot rise inside San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium, the first live recording to ever take place inside the now legendary concert hall.

Album producer George Avakian quips that some of the audience present for the performance may not have even known they were listening to jazz, but he also points out that Lloyd had a way of breaking through to the young, wide-eyed Haight Ashbury hippies in a way that few, if any, other jazz musicians could.

As Avakian writes in the album’s liner notes, “Communion between audience and musicians happens everywhere the Charles Lloyd Quartet plays, but nowhere is it more striking than on the San Francisco scene. When the Quartet starts a set, many of the youngsters keep on dancing, but increasingly larger numbers have started doing something they don’t do when anyone else plays. They stretch out on the floor… put their arms around each other, close their eyes, and let the music take them out.” It’s a spectacle that spawned the album’s title.

Love-In is an overlooked gem from Charles Lloyd’s acclaimed run in the mid to late 60s, one that further proves why this band was turning so many heads at the time. The Quartet’s musical unity is striking, and their vast array of musical influences mingle to create a surprisingly accessible sound that doesn’t water down the depth of the music or their astounding group interplay on this date.

Album opener “Tribal Dance” feels akin to the work John Coltrane’s Classic Quartet was achieving earlier in the decade (Lloyd’s solo certainly nods in that direction). There’s a youth and whimsy to Jarrett’s piano solo, offering a more delicate counterpoint to Lloyd’s aggression on sax. “Sunday Morning,” a Jarrett original, signals a deep interplay between Jarrett and DeJohnette, one that seems to foretell the great work they would go on to create together with Jarrett’s Standards Trio, one of the most celebrated and enduring jazz ensembles of the last 30 years.

Love-In may be a great example of how potent the Charles Lloyd Quartet’s musical message was at the time, but unfortunately the magic would not last. By the end of 1968, the Quartet would implode under a storm of artistic differences and money disputes. Lloyd would disappear from the jazz spotlight for a number of years, while Jarrett and DeJohnette would go on to join Miles Davis’ band in the midst of his pioneering electric period.

Much like Forest Flower, Love-In is a great introduction to the world of jazz for those looking to dip their toes into a new sound. It also won’t break the bank – this record is pretty common, and can usually be found for less than $10.

-Brandon Roos – 2018