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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Albert Ayler: Lorrach, Paris 1966

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This is the third edition of the original pressing by hatOLOGY records, containing re-masters of tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler's live performances in Lorrach, Germany, and live tracks recorded at the Paris jazz festival, culled from his 1966 European tour. In the liners, Peter Niklas Wilson asserts that the George Wein produced the “Newport in Europe" tour and that Ayler was given second-class accommodations, contrasting what was tendered to the likes of Dave Brubeck and Stan Getz. But it's also noted that the Ayler band was revered like pop stars, as violinist William Folwell states that, “In Rotterdam, people stormed the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Albert Ayler: Stockholm, Berlin 1966

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Indeed, a desert island quality album reissued with a digital uplift of celebrated tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler's 1966 Stockholm and Berlin concerts, where the artist resides in a very special musical space unlike any other. With his infamous slants on America's historical affinity for march music, Ayler's colossal presence and coiling use of vibrato looms as a mighty force, to complement a dynamo band featuring brother Donald on trumpet. Sadly, the Ayler brothers passed on too soon and, in retrospect, the jury is out whether Albert Ayler's revolutionary concepts garnered the utmost critical deference spanning their relatively short ...

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Albert Ayler: Knocking On The Door of Astral Jazz

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Despite everything life threw at saxophonist Albert Ayler--critical incomprehension, paucity of performing opportunities, probable bi-polarity--his music shone with light. At the time of his passing, aged 34, drowned in New York's East River, he was, said some of his friends, in the depths of depression (leading to rumors of suicide, or, more fancifully, of murder). But he was still creating beauty--still searching for music as “the healing force of the universe," to quote from one of his album titles, or “wisdom through music," to borrow one by his near contemporary, saxophonist Pharoah Sanders. During his half dozen ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Albert Ayler: Spiritual Unity

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When the veracity of the history of twentieth-century art is evaluated, what will be found in the proverbial time capsule? Where will “The Music," which Jelly Roll Morton christened as jass, sit with the works that were created by important composers, ranging from Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, and John Coltrane, to Thelonious Monk,, George Russell and Cecil Taylor,? This was music that gave voice to a people and redefined the cultural iconography of the century that followed. The fact that some works are catalogued in the Library of Congress beside the music of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, as well ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Albert Ayler: New York Eye and Ear Control

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Even in a form of music as decidedly left-of-center as “free jazz," a canon of musicians and works has been built. This canon is essentially based upon easily-obtainable recordings rather than a history that falls to documents, primary sources and musical meetings that went commercially unrecorded. A case in point: American creative large ensembles of the 1960s generally start and stop with Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz (Atlantic, 1960) and Coltrane's Ascension (Impulse, 1965), leaving out many valuable works.When we're lucky, the gathering of six musicians and composers that produced New York Eye and Ear Control in 1964, an ...

ARTIST PROFILES

A French "Exposé Sur" Albert Ayler

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At the end of the year 1970, the man who was considered the strongest personality in Free Jazz by his fans would die in mysterious circumstances.Albert Ayler had been missing from his New York home since the 5th of November and it was only three weeks later that his body was recovered from the East River. His funeral was held discretely in Cleveland (his home-town) on the 4th of December, in attendance were members of the family and several friends. He was thirty-four years old.After having won his first grand prize several months prior at Nuits ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

My Name is Albert Ayler: A Documentary

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My Name Is Albert Ayler (2005) Directed by Kasper Collin Screenings November 8 and 9, 2007Anthology Film Archives New York City, New York

My Name is Albert Ayler is a documentary that needed to be made. Directed by Swedish filmmaker Kasper Collins, the film is a spellbinding look at one of jazz' most misunderstood geniuses. With contributions from drummer Sunny Murray, Mary Parks, Don and Edward Ayler, and a host of Scandinavian musicians influential upon Ayler throughout his career, My Name Is Albert Ayler captures the beauty as well ...

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Albert Ayler: The Universe Gets Healed

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Zero Point Plays Albert Ayler Ayler 2007 Meditations on Albert Ayler Live at Glenn Miller Cafe Ayler 2007 Healing Force The Songs of Albert Ayler Cuneiform 2007 Albert Ayler Quartet The Hilversum Session ESP Disk 2007

What would the Albert Ayler of 1970 -- misunderstood, ultimately suicidal -- think of the renewed appreciation ...

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Tenor Badness: Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, Gato Barbieri

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During Albert Ayler's performance at John Coltrane's funeral on June 21, 1967, Ayler described Coltrane as the “father," Pharoah Sanders as the “son," and himself as the “holy ghost." The remark generated as much fury among the jazz establishment as Ayler's incendiary--and still howlingly divine--music, but the description, so far as it went, was spot on.

Ayler omitted that other great Coltrane-sponsored Impulse! tenor saxophonist, Archie Shepp--there's only room for three in anyone's trinity--but Shepp might be described as Ayler's “brother." And if Gato Barbieri had been included in the Coltrane family tree, he'd be the “love child" (albeit one ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Albert Ayler: Slug's Saloon

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Albert Ayler's name has come to mean different things to different people. Some think of him as the ultimate free jazz musician, others a fraud; some know his connection and subsequent projection of church music, and a few people actually knew him as a good friend. His death in 1970, an apparent suicide at the age of 34, guaranteed that parts of his life would remain shrouded in mystery. This two-CD set (reissued for the set's fortieth anniversary) piqued my curiosity with the only appearance of a young Ronald Shannon Jackson (listed as Ron Jackson) on drums ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

My Name Is Albert Ayler

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My Name Is Albert Ayler Directed by Kasper Collin Northwest Film Forum Earshot Jazz Festival Seattle, Washington

There has finally been a film made about Albert Ayler, one of the most innovative saxophonists in history. An independent film by Swedish director Kasper Collin, it features the only known film footage of Albert that is in existence. Through the use of audio interviews with Albert himself recorded between 1963-1970, recent interviews conducted by Collin with Albert's father, Edward Ayler, and his younger brother, trumpeter Donald Ayler, as well as with musicians ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Albert Ayler: Spirits

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By the looks of it, Spirits seems like a no-brainer. The names on the cover look good: Albert Ayler, Henry Grimes, and Sunny Murray. But somehow the parts never add up, though. Sure, the album's four tunes wiggle plenty, producing the agitated jazz Ayler often preached; but, the motions on Spirits, unlike Ayler's better moments, resolve too very little. The album, originally recorded in New York in '64, came after Ayler's Scandinavian tour of duty with Cecil Taylor in '62 and '63. Murray and both bass players, Grimes and Earle Henderson, do good work here, nothing stellar, just enough to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Albert Ayler: Live on the Riviera

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By Ted Kane

Live on the Riviera is one of those CDs that is more interesting historically than compelling musically. It was recorded live in France less than four months prior to the saxophonist's death, and most of his devotees will want to hear it at least once, yet only a small segment of that group will want to do so much more than that. Ayler tries to do his best here and does play heartily at times; unfortunately, neither his accompanists nor the book (by and large) are worthy of his talents on this date. ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Albert Ayler: Prophecy/Bells

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Albert Ayler Prophecy/Bells ESP-Disk 2005

Despite a rather brief period of artistic flourish (c. 1964 - c. 1967), tenor man Albert Ayler has probably, next to Coltrane and Cecil Taylor, held the most sway on the direction of improvisation from a 'thematic' or 'phrase-based' approach to that of a purely sonic one. Ayler melded bebop dexterity and the grotesqueries of juke-joint R&B tenor squawkers to an inordinately fast and decidedly physical, experiential approach to the sound of the tenor saxophone at both upper- and lower-register extremes. This was, to paraphrase John Dewey, ...



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