Explore These Live Albums, As Gigs Are Slow To Materialize

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A live Alice Coltrane recording from 1972 marks a turning point in her music.

(Photo: DownBeat Archives)

Charles Lloyd, Forest Flower (1967)

This might not be the best album of Lloyd’s discography, but it was extraordinarily popular, and worked to insinuate jazz back into popular culture (to an extent). It also features a pretty remarkable band with Cecil McBee on bass, Jack DeJohnette on drums and Keith Jarrett on piano.

Gabor Szabo, The Sorcerer (1967)

The legacy of this Hungarian guitarist, for some reason, hasn’t endured over time. But this disc, recorded at the Jazz Workshop in Boston, finds the bandleader conjuring up an admixture of jazz, rock and strains of psychedelia in an effort to create his own brand of freedom music.

Duke Ellington, The Great Paris Concert (1973)

Duke’s band—with the saxophone titans Johnny Hodges (alto), Paul Gonsalves (tenor) and Harry Carney (baritone)—stretched out with bluesey originals by the leader, as the ensemble dispensed some of the best of what the States had to offer in 1963. The recording was released as a double LP in 1973, and its track listing was expanded in subsequent reissues.

Billie Holiday, The Essential Billie Holiday: Carnegie Hall Concert (1961)

Despite Norman Granz reciting snippets of Holiday’s biography between tunes, the vocalist fronts an extraordinarily loose collective on this 1956 set that counts drummer Chico Hamilton during a formative moment in his career, as well as guitarist Kenny Burrell. It’s probably not the pinnacle of Holiday’s powers, but she still plays with the beat and turns in a remarkable blues-filled performance.

Bill Evans Trio, Sunday At The Village Vanguard (1961)

Iconic for not just its music, but that stark image of Evans on the cover, the album featured a pair of tunes by bassist Scott LaFaro sandwiched around songs from Cole Porter and George Gershwin. A dark twist: It was recorded less than two weeks before LaFaro died in a car accident. DB

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February 2023
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