LLOYD MCNEILL

Jazz Related Improv/Composition / Fusion / Post Bop / Third Stream / Latin Jazz • United States
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The first thing to know about Lloyd McNeill is that his are the very best soul-jazz flute LPs, and each is first-rate, a masterpiece of self-direction. The second thing to know is there is much more to him than his recorded legacy. He is one of those incredible, super-sensitive people who excels at every artistic idiom and endeavor; making wonderful music is just part of his flowing creativity. A professor (at Rutgers University, earlier Dartmouth), he has much to say about music and creativity as well as an impeccable gift for saying it...sensibly. McNeill's writings on his musical experiences provide invaluable documents of "the period" (late 1960s-1970s) as well as a rare glimpse at the joy of a relatively unsung master.

Born in Washington, DC in 1935, McNeill earned his B.A. at Morehouse College in Atlanta and also studied painting at Howard University in his home town and lithography at the
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Thanks to kazuhiro for the addition and snobb for the updates

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LLOYD MCNEILL Discography

LLOYD MCNEILL albums / top albums

LLOYD MCNEILL The Dream Awake album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Dream Awake
Jazz Related Improv/Composition 1968
LLOYD MCNEILL Asha album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Asha
Fusion 1969
LLOYD MCNEILL Treasures album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Treasures
Post Bop 1976
LLOYD MCNEILL Tori album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Tori
Latin Jazz 1978
LLOYD MCNEILL Elegia album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Elegia
Post Bop 1980
LLOYD MCNEILL Lloyd McNeill , Richard Kimball ‎: X.Tem.Por.E album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Lloyd McNeill , Richard Kimball ‎: X.Tem.Por.E
Jazz Related Improv/Composition 1998

LLOYD MCNEILL EPs & splits

LLOYD MCNEILL live albums

LLOYD MCNEILL Tanner Suite album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Tanner Suite
Third Stream 1969
LLOYD MCNEILL Washington Suite album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Washington Suite
Fusion 1970

LLOYD MCNEILL demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

LLOYD MCNEILL re-issues & compilations

LLOYD MCNEILL Asha - The Best Of Lloyd McNeill album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Asha - The Best Of Lloyd McNeill
Fusion 1998

LLOYD MCNEILL singles (0)

LLOYD MCNEILL movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

LLOYD MCNEILL Reviews

LLOYD MCNEILL Washington Suite

Live album · 1970 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Sean Trane
LMcN’s third album, Washington Suite is also known (AKA) as Asha 3 (a reference to his debut album), but we’re dealing more with a gentle JR/F album than before, despite featuring same quintet, mainly due to Gene Rush’s use of the Fender Rhodes. A bunch of extra wind players (oboe, bassoon, French horn, etc..) were added, but it’s not like they are a determinant aural factor.

Much to my enjoyment, many of the modal/psychedelic ambiances of the Asha debut are still to be found on WS, but the extended presence of Rhodes gives it an edge over its predecessor. At times, it gets “fusionny” enough to be slightly reminiscent of Mwandishi, but don’t let that scare you, because it is more the exception than the rule. If the A-side has three separate tracks that hover between JR/F (Home Rule and 71%) and standardier jazz (Cliffbourne Place), the flipside features a sidelong suite that features a classical interlude (Fountain In The Circle) as an intro than the full body 3-movement splendid City Triptych follows (Rush’s Rhodes rules) that is definitely McNeil’s apex. The closing Fountain In The Circle) outro is indeed much jazzier than the intro, but is it “classical” anymore? Not IMHO.

I take it that the album’s only “classical” composition is the reason why the album is often tagged as Third Stream, but to these ears, there is no fusion between the two genres LmN is dealing with. As a matter of fact, that “Fountain” intro piece sounds more like it’s a track from a different artiste that got lost on this one… Totally out of context to my ears, though I’m sure McN would beg to differ. As far as I can see/hear from this album, the Third Stream label/category would be much better suited to Deodato or Alice Coltrane than McNeill, because the mix of jazz and classical is effective, while here, they simply co-exist.

Somewhat like LmN’s Asha debut, the CD reissue Washington Suite comes in a bizarre digipak format, which will make it difficult to store it normally in your shelves, but unlike its predecssor, it doesn’t features any booklet and extra liner notes. Outside that UFO track, I tend to prefer Asha 3 to Asha, because Lloyd dropped the somewhat annoying piccolo to concentrate on the “normal” flute. For what it’s worth and what I’m aware of McNeil’s work, this is IMHO his better effort.

LLOYD MCNEILL Asha

Album · 1969 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Sean Trane
Lloyd McNeil’s solo project music are multi-dimensional and presented live painting during his performance. Indeed, his high degrees of educations in the art fields and his slight involvement in the Civil Rights Movement and the counterculture of the late 60’s, as well as his contacts in other artistic realms (including Picasso) lead his performances reach unusual levels of originality. Most likely the artwork of Asha is the result of one of them.

Although the leader is a flutist, LMcN’s quintet is piano-oriented with Gravatt’s (future Weather Report) percussions adding dimension, bringing energy levels that are often found in the then-nascent JR/F adventures of the times. McNeil’s flute styles is fairly different to his other jazz colleagues (Herbie Mann, Jeremy Steig, Rashaan, etc…), because he also diddles with the piccolo, thus giving a special sonic to his albums. Gene Rush’s piano has a certain Tyner-esque feel at times, thus giving a modal ambiance that can remind Coltrane.

Opening on the almost 9-mins title track (whose name hints at psychedelic and oriental dimensions), we’re directly transported in soundscapes that are more reminiscent of the 70’s, induced by Gravatt’s powerful drumming (reminiscent Elvin Jones). Don’t get me wrong, these Coltrane references that I’m giving you are just indicative, and while somehow that mythic quartet’s shadow is indeed hovering over the album, there is no way you’d ever mistake Asha for anything else than a McNeil oeuvre. The same “Asha” ambiances are to be heard in a few other tracks (namely Dig Where Dats At), but some compositions (like Matter Of Fact, Effervescence or 2/3’s Pleasure) are more conventional and 60’s-ish. The closing spellbinding Sunny Day is very descriptive of its title, and ends in total serenity. Note that Lloyd uses more piccolo (slightly annoying throughout the total duration of the album) on Asha than necessary.

An unusually long album for the times and the genre (well over 20 minutes per side), Asha is a fantastic testimony of the artistic creativity of the counterculture, then at its apex in the late 60’s. Sadly enough McNeil’s discography is limited to the wider-70’s (from 69 to 80), but his early contributions are absolutely essential. I’m not exactly sure how he got tagged as “third stream”, since in the few works of his that I’m familiar with, his music rarely veers towards classical music, and when it does, it’s purely classical, with no jazz in the mix. But that is simply not applicable to this Asha album, where we’re dealing more with a pre-JR/F jazz and not at all with "Third Stream", one a very solid effort, at that.

BTW, the CD reissue comes in a weird “reduced-to-CD-size” DVD package (the first and only time I encountered this presentation), but a specially-formatted booklet with extensive liner notes, but unfortunately the back cover didn’t get adapted, and the legibility is very average.

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