A BIG DAY FOR JAZZ FROM UC TO THE BAY (excerpt)
It was a big day, yesterday, for the sophisticated jazz fan.
Eleven hours of mainstream swing and traditional Dixieland flowed from the Club Pier 23 on the Embarcadero during the Bill Napier benefit, and nearly four hours of the University of California's musical potpourri absorbed the afternoon at the Hearst Greek Theatre on the Berkeley campus.
About 5000 attended the Cal "Centennial Jazz" matinee and the Napier benefit drew over 500 to the waterfront festivities.
I would wish the two events could have been shuffled occasionally: the informal enthusiasm at the Pier 23 was missing at the Berkeley show, and the modern musical experimentation was lacking on the waterfront.
In Berkeley the Grateful Dead, rock-blues group, a generally interesting and popular electronic band, was boring. In an outdoor environment with brilliant sound projection (and the Greek's naturally superlative acoustics) the Dead's presentation never grabbed the audience and took them aloft.
No one danced, nor indicated any desire to, and other than Jerry Garcia's wonderful guitar variations there wasn't anything very interesting in the Dead's hour of ordinary chord changes, occasional vocals, and undistinguished rhythms.
The Charles Lloyd quartet, in contrast, displayed superlative individual musicianship, fascinating complexities in their ensemble performance, and a wide ranging series of themes on which to improvise.
Pianist Keith Jarrett constantly taunted leader Lloyd into esoteric flute or saxophone expressions, and when Jarrett devoted his whole introductory solo space to variations on strummed-piano strings and microphonic percussion, the Greek Theatre audience roared with delight.
I have never heard Lloyd's quartet in a more exuberant mood and their artistic good humor and good taste might well have been noted by the dour Dead.
The Bola Sete trio introduced the afternoon with a typical cross section of Sete's appealing guitar. His Bach, Villa Lobos, and Haydn mixed with flamenco and Brazilian themes is one of the most attractive blends of musical expression on the American scene.
[ . . . ]
(by Philip Elwood, from the San Francisco Examiner, 2 October 1967)