I once went to the Monterey Jazz Festival. Must have been 1967 or 68. I had never been to California and never to Monterey. It’s different out there – the light, the air, the colors. I can’t remember who I saw, but before the show started, I was standing outside the actual seating area, looking at stuff in a booth and had one of the great spatial/aural experiences of a lifetime.
Forest Flower It was early evening, with that special light. I was young, alone, and excited. I begin to hear something off to my left. As this sound comes comes closer, I can tell it’s music and, as it slowly grows louder, I can identify it as Dixieland. Lots of horns and drums. I look down this green, leafy, oak-lined pathway, and I see a bunch of guys coming toward me, bobbing up and down. They have uniforms on. They’re playing, they’re dancing, they’re marching, and it’s getting louder and more exciting as they come closer. Before I know it, they are right in front of me at full volume, smiling, playing, and marching by. I can hardly stand it, it feels so good! They don’t stop. They keep going and, as they go, the sound of the music grows softer and softer until they disappear into the distance, carrying all that infectious joy and shiny instruments and great rhythm with them. It’s the ultimate in stereo sound, as they move past me and in one ear and out the other.
Forest Flower Part 2
I didn’t see the show that this performance comes from, but I did see this band a few months later. And what a great band! Charles Lloyd on sax, Keith Jarrett on piano, Cecil McBee on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums. This song reminds me of that kind of California evening, so close to the ocean.