Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

337

Golia / Josephson / Kaiser / Keneally / Morris / Smith / Walter: Healing Force: The Songs of Albert Ayler

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Revered for his uncompromising 1960s New Thing innovations, seminal free jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler's often maligned cross-over work from the end of the decade received widespread criticism. Seeking a wider audience, Ayler's final efforts often presented the lyrical contributions of his girlfriend, Mary "Maria" Parks in more traditional blues-based settings.

Widely misunderstood and commonly misinterpreted as a commercial sell-out, Ayler and Parks' collaborations featured her "universal consciousness" lyrics delivered with boundless, amateurish enthusiasm, while Ayler restrained his outré playing to more acceptable R&B standards. Ayler never got a chance to fully explore these later works; his body was found floating in New York's East River in 1970.

Drawing material exclusively from his final albums, Love Cry (Impulse!, 1967), New Grass (Impulse!, 1968) and Music Is The Healing Force of the Universe (Impulse!, 1969), Healing Force: The Songs of Albert Ayler revisits these underappreciated works with empathetic devotion, recasting them for a new generation.

Organized by guitarist Henry Kaiser, this all-star septet features a wide variety of talent drawn primarily from the West Coast's improvising underground. Flying Luttenbachers founder/drummer Weasel Walter and Bay Area bassist Damon Smith make a pliable rhythm section. Guitarists Henry Kaiser and Joe Morris (the only New Yorker) are joined by former Frank Zappa guitarist Mike Keneally, primarily playing piano. The sole horn, Los Angeles scene leader Vinny Golia, doubles on everything from baritone saxophone to flute, while New Music vocalist Aurora Josephson interprets Parks' lyrics with cool élan.

Despite the unintentional camp factor of Parks' amateur evangelism, the septet does a stellar job of transposing the optimistic naiveté of the original texts into a more reticent, cautionary view. Case in point—the endearing gospel fervor of "New Generation" was once a buoyant celebration. Now, Josephson's icy delivery is underscored by a sinister metronomic backbeat and a haunting guitar vibe that recalls early Sonic Youth.

Revealing copious moods and dynamics, the ensemble veers from whispery AACM-styled musings to scorching collective torrents. Alternating acoustic and electric modes, the brisk angularity of Morris is contrasted by the blistering, fret-board shredding of Kaiser. Golia shares Ayler's unhinged passion without resorting to imitation, while Josephson's alluring vocals endow these unconventional tunes with an austere dignity.

Healing Force: The Songs of Albert Ayler suggests a critical re-evaluation of the master's late period works is well past due. For those interested in the limitless bounds of an unfettered tradition, there is much here to rejoice.


Track Listing: New New Grass/Message From Albert; Music is the Healing Force of the Universe; Japan/Universal Indians; A Man is Like a Tree; Oh! Love of Life; Thank God for Women; Heart Love; New Generation; New Ghosts/New Message.

Personnel: Vinny Golia: reeds; Aurora Josephson: voice; Henry Kaiser: guitar; Mike Keneally: piano, guitar and voice; Joe Morris: guitar and bass; Damon Smith: bass; Weasel Walter: drums.

Title: Healing Force: The Songs of Albert Ayler | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Song of No Regrets CD/LP/Track Review Song of No Regrets
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Sounding Tears CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by John Sharpe
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Kill The Boy CD/LP/Track Review Kill The Boy
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Rain or Shine CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017
Read "Back In Your Own Backyard" CD/LP/Track Review Back In Your Own Backyard
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Live at the Blue Whale" CD/LP/Track Review Live at the Blue Whale
by Phillip Woolever
Published: May 9, 2017
Read "#knowingishalfthebattle" CD/LP/Track Review #knowingishalfthebattle
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "Live! Rancho Nicasio" CD/LP/Track Review Live! Rancho Nicasio
by James Nadal
Published: June 7, 2017
Read "Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31" CD/LP/Track Review Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Song of No Regrets" CD/LP/Track Review Song of No Regrets
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 16, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!