225

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

Jerry D'Souza By

Sign in to view read count
Golia / Josephson / Kaiser / Keneally / Morris / Smith / Walter: Healing Force: The Songs of Albert Ayler Saxophonist Albert Ayler was a restless genius. He was a ferocious improviser, extreme in his innovations, uncompromising in his approach. He could blend free improvisation with gospel fervor, or with the harmonic concept of a marching band. He did it all with unmitigated passion that made him a revered musician.

Ayler was accused of selling out when he released Love Cry (1967), New Grass (1968) and Music is the Healing Force of the Universe (1969)—all on Impulse!—on which he returned to R&B and more thematic concepts. That decried the freedom that Ayler gave to himself to seek new directions. Now, forty years later, guitarist Henry Kaiser brings home the fact that there was a lot more on those albums than first thought, and that it was time to realize all the underlying ideas.

Kaiser brought together seven musicians who chose the songs that would be representative of Ayler's later work. All the selections are first takes, bringing to fruition the idea of the musicians letting the music play through them to make a powerful statement.

Reedman Vinny Golia gets right down to the bone, blowing up an unfettered cornucopia of sound. He is in Ayler mode until the mood is dispersed by the narrative of the band, which comes off as self-conscious and amateurish, like they are reciting by rote. Still, the underlying sentiment of being made universal beings through the power of the Creator is strongly present.

Music is the Healing Force of the Universe is the centrifugal force of the record. Golia spearheads the movement, finding dark alleys into which he injects his blistering horn. He is impelled by drummer Weasel Walter and bassist Damon Smith. The mood shifts, a clam tone brought in by the floating vocals of Aurora Josephson. She shades the timbre of her voice well to up the emotional balance. The light trance is abetted by piano and guitar, but the whole never settles. Restlessness and calm are the two sides of a vital perspective.

Oh! Love of Life has a pastoral air, a delightful melody that rejoices in song. Josephson once more fills in the emotional texture, her voice distilling a tangible yearning. Walter kicks the bass drum and accents the cymbals with a spry air, the guitar swerves and swings, and electrifies the structure into myriad free falling notes. As with the other compositions, changes are rife.

Kaiser and the gang do well in reviving Ayler, now even less of a ghost.


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, voice; Joe Morris: guitar, bass; Damon Smith: bass; Weasle Walter: drums.

Title: Healing Force: The Songs of Albert Ayler | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Sonder CD/LP/Track Review Sonder
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Putting Off Death CD/LP/Track Review Putting Off Death
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "I Try To Remember Where I Come From" CD/LP/Track Review I Try To Remember Where I Come From
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 30, 2017
Read "Drama" CD/LP/Track Review Drama
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 4, 2017
Read "NJO 40" CD/LP/Track Review NJO 40
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 1, 2017
Read "The Stone House" CD/LP/Track Review The Stone House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Illuminations" CD/LP/Track Review Illuminations
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 24, 2016
Read "Unit[e]" CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.