Nirvana (1968)
Charles Lloyd

  1. Island Blues (Charles Lloyd)
  2. Caracara (José Cândido/João Do Vale)
  3. Long Time, Baby (Charles Lloyd)
  4. East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon) (Brooks Bowman)
  5. Love Theme From “In Harm’s Way” (Jerry Goldsmith)
  6. Sun Dance (Charles Lloyd)
  7. You Know (From “Ecco”) (Riz Ortolani)
  8. One For Joan (Charles Lloyd)
  9. Freedom Traveler (Part 1 – Prayer) (Part 2 – Journey) (Charles Lloyd)

Charles Lloyd & His Quintet (1 to 7):
Charles Lloyd – tenor saxophone, flute
Gabor Szabo, Robbie Robertson (1, 2, 3, 5, 6) – guitar
Ron Carter (4, 7), Albert Stinson (1, 2, 3, 5, 6) – bass
Tony Williams (4, 7), Pete LaRoca (1, 2, 3, 5, 6) – drums

Chico Hamilton & His Quinet (8 and 9):
Chico Hamilton – drums
Charles Lloyd – tenor saxophone, flute
Garnett Brown – trombone
Gabor Szabo – guitar
Albert Stinson – bass

Produced by Teo Macero

Recorded on February 19, 1962 (8, 9), May 8, 1964 (4), March 8, 1965 (7) and October 15, 1965 (1, 2, 3, 5, 6)

1 to 9 issued on LP in 1968 as Columbia CS-9609

Nirvana is an unusual compilation that was rush-released in 1968 after Lloyd’s quartet with pianist Keith Jarrett and drummer Jack DeJohnette transcended typical jazz popularity with emerging rock audiences to become one of the single most popular jazz groups of its day. Aside from producing a plethora of excellent music for the Atlantic label in the late 1960s, this quartet remarkably never condescended to demean their creativity with any sort of crossover appeal like electrics, boogaloo rhythms or mind-numbing 4/4 ostinati.

This record was hardly what the group’s fans wanted to hear and the album was soon forgotten and deleted. Many years later, the spectacularly perfect Of Course, Of Course was reissued on LP (in 1981 – when Lloyd had largely disappeared from music) and on CD (Mosaic, 2006, following Lloyd’s long run on ECM Records) – with three titles from Nirvana included as bonus cuts (“East of the Sun,” “Island Blues” and “Sun Dance”).

There were a number of previously unissued tracks included here, which make his album worth tracking down. But the two Drumfusion cuts had not previously been heard on CD at the time and make an interesting case for early Lloyd.

To read Malcolm Dome’s absurdly misinformed notes to the CD release of Nirvana (there were no notes nor much information at all on the original LP) would lead listeners to believe that Nirvana represented “the finest album from the Charles Lloyd Quartet” – an allusion, perhaps to the Jarrett/DeJohnette group that this music doesn’t even remotely resemble. But this is just rubbish. None of these were quartet performances and none of these tracks were the best Charles Lloyd had to offer.

First of all, it was not even a real album. It was a compilation – with previously unreleased tracks – and one that Charles Lloyd never had a hand in. Secondly, it’s hard to argue that any of the Lloyd-led music on Nirvana – good as it is – stacks up successfully to anything on the second Lloyd quartet album, Of Course, Of Course, or any of the many classic Lloyd quartet records with Keith Jarrett (in place of any guitarist) laid down on Atlantic Records during the late 1960s.

Still, three of the tracks featured here factored as bonus tracks on the glorious 2007 CD release of Of Course, Of Course (Mosaic) while the entirety of Nirvana was issued on the 2010 CD compilation Discovery! & Nirvana (Superbird).