Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers 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!

331

Albert Ayler: Live on the Riviera

By

Sign in to view read count
Albert Ayler's saxophone sound was raw and unfettered. Ayler's life, like his sound, was the personification of the blues. Sorrowful and excitable, both mournful and full of life, Ayler's sound was the sound of the human voice set free. That's why critics are afraid of him—like all revolutionaries, Ayler said things people don't like to hear.

As part of ESP's recent relaunching and reissue campaign, Live on the Riviera is a testament to the underappreciated brilliance of Ayler's music. The 1970 set captured here comes from Ayler and his band's two-night stay with the Maeght Foundation in St. Paul de Vence, France. While the second night featured the full quintet Ayler was touring Europe with at the time, the band here is a quartet of Ayler and Mary Maria on saxophones and vocals, Allen Blairman on drums, and Steve Tintweiss on bass (pianist Call Cobbs would join the others for the following night's set).

Ayler's Dixieland call opens the set. With a welcoming, soulful shout Ayler invites his audience to listen in on an inspired performance of "Music is the Healing Force of the Universe. These notes are emotional and soulful, capturing Ayler's playing in top form.

The controversial Maria contributes vocals throughout this set, most prominently on the songs she had a hand in crafting (the title track to Music, "Masonic Inborn, and "Oh! Love of Life ). The spoken word on "Music is her finest contribution, despite its laughably dated day-tripper lyricism—it's her constant desire to yodel, yelp, and scat on this and other tracks that grows tiresome.

The rhythm section's playing on this set is at the least satisfactory, though Tintweiss and Blairman are not Sunny Murray, Gary Peacock, or Henry Grimes. Ayler sounds good backed by this lineup, but not as good as years earlier, backed by the aforementioned players.

"Birth of Mirth is one of the sets more interesting compositions, with its playful head and wandering sections of improvisation; the track also features some of Blair's best drumming in support of Maria and Ayler's sopranos. On the whole, Maria's playing isn't all that interesting, and it often stands too far in front when matched with Ayler's tenor.

Perhaps some listeners are turned off by the way his sound so closely resembles the sound of the human voice, but in Ayler's playing there is pain and sadness as well as joy and playfulness. His tenor plunges the depths of human emotions. And that's not being overdramatic—there are plenty of superb recordings that capture this. Live on the Riviera is merely the latest to do so.

Track Listing: Music is the Healing Force of the Universe; Birth of Mirth; Masonic Inborn; Oh! Love of Life; Island Harvest; Heart Love; Ghosts.

Personnel: Albert Ayler: tenor saxophone, soprano, museme, vocal; Steve Tintweiss: double bass; Allen Blairman: drums; Mary Maria: vocal, soprano saxophone.

Title: Live on the Riviera | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: ESP Disk

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Taking Direction" CD/LP/Track Review Taking Direction
by Marithe Van der Aa
Published: April 4, 2017
Read "Random Acts of Order" CD/LP/Track Review Random Acts of Order
by John Sharpe
Published: November 15, 2017
Read "Mikrojazz!: Neue Expressionistische Musik" CD/LP/Track Review Mikrojazz!: Neue Expressionistische Musik
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 5, 2017
Read "Jeg roper til deg" CD/LP/Track Review Jeg roper til deg
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 7, 2017
Read "Beginnings" CD/LP/Track Review Beginnings
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 12, 2017
Read "Live At Jazzhus Montmartre" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Jazzhus Montmartre
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 31, 2017