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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Albert Ayler: Copenhagen Live 1964

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Even more than 50 years on, there's still never been anyone quite like Albert Ayler. Or for that matter like this 1964 Quartet, which was one of the few ensembles during his career to match the tenor saxophonist against equally forward thinking peers. Bassist Gary Peacock was fresh from pianist Bill Evans' Trio, cornetist Don Cherry was based in Europe having worked with both Ornette Coleman and Sonny Rollins, while Sunny Murray had held the drum stool in pianist {{Cecil ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Albert Ayler Quartet: Copenhagen Live 1964

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It's almost as if the phenomenon that was saxophonist Albert Ayler was just a dream. Nearly fifty years after his death, listeners (and musicians, for that matter) are still catching up to him, and realizing his gift. His life, like that of Charlie Parker, ended at age 34. But where Parker (an originator of bebop) developed in the musical world of Kansas City, Ayler seemingly stepped off a spaceship to deliver his provocative free jazz.  Ayler's early career, ...

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Albert We Hardly Knew Ye

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The Chinese mystic philosopher Lao Tzu wrote, “the flame that burns twice as bright, burns half as long." Although he never heard the music of Albert Ayler, we're sure that he would agree the saxophonist's fire music was luminescent. Ayler's career was indeed quite brief, recording only for a period of eight years until his untimely dead at age 34, in 1970. The description of the flame is also apropos, as Ayler was quoted as saying, “Trane was ...

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 ...

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 ...

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, ...

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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 ...

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 ...

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 ...


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