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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Albert Ayler: Spiritual Unity

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Fifty years after the recording of Albert Ayler's Spiritual Unity, the music (and the man) are still causing tumult. It is not so much that free jazz hasn't been on our radar these past decades, it's just that this recording remains one of those “where were you, when you first heard it?" experiences. Recorded in a very small, hot studio in July of 1964, the album which thrust the new label ESP onto the map, consisted of just four songs--thirty minutes of music. But it was to be 30 minutes that changed the direction of jazz. John Coltrane ...

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 ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

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 ...



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