Only the Best of Charles Lloyd
Collectables issues another of their signature sets ("signature" in that they are very generic box sets compiling albums by great artists who recorded for Atlantic Records at some point in their careers). This time, the subject artist is the great saxophonist Charles Lloyd. Here are nine albums on six CDs. These are arranged, one supposes, aesthetically rather than chronologically -- which would have made more sense, but it's ultimately the music that counts. Most of this reveals Lloyd -- who had been an integral part of Chico Hamilton's group before going solo and recorded a pair of well-received albums for Columbia before he signed to Atlantic -- at a pivotal point in his career, with a classic quartet including pianist Keith Jarrett, bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Jack DeJohnette. The set includes classic titles such as Dream Weaver (not to be confused with the hit song by Gary Wright in the '70s) Flowering, and Charles Lloyd in the Soviet Union, Charles Lloyd in Europe, and Love-In -- all great records. That said, as is typical of Collectables' compilation boxes, some truly classic material is left out, such as Forest Flower: Charles Lloyd at Monterey and Nirvana. In its place are two curious inclusions -- Warne Marsh, which is solo material with the saxophonist recorded in the late '50s, and Acoustic Masters 1. These latter two are jive choices that are merely filler in the saxophonist's oeuvre, and don't paint the full picture of Lloyd's career with Atlantic -- especially since it was entirely possible and Lloyd was a genuine crossover artist whose records sold to rock audiences -- he appeared at the Fillmore before Miles Davis did. Most fans already have these key albums, so it remains to be seen who this set will appeal to since it's such a mixed proposition.