in the words of the immortal Jim Anchower, i know that it has been a spell since last i rapped at ya. this is partly b/c i took on a sort of unique extracurricular project. don't want to get too particular and jinx anything, but here is a taste. (can anyone guess which submission might have issued from DFSBP?) just wanna thank my friend Jesse for alerting me to the opportunity!
i'm listening to Albert Ayler shred his reed right now and just as it was exclusively Andrew Hill for the past few weeks, it's now all about Cleveland Heights' finest.
free jazz sax testifying has become a really commonplace thing. it's hard to imagine that there was a time when squealing and honking sounded totally unexpected and true and necessary. hearing Ayler immediately takes you back to that time. he was driven to find his own sound. it's a scary, wavering, fluttering tirade, suffused with love. with Ayler, it all issued from those gorgeous "national anthem of mankind" fanfares (that description i think came from Don Cherry). he moved on from there with utter gravity, and with a good band, such as bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Sunny Murray, it sounds like an exorcism.
there's a lot of Ayler out there. that box set is a biggie, but there's tons of other stuff that might work better as an introduction. aside from "Spiritual Unity" (sorta the signature work), "Prophecy" is a great live trio date w/ the same rhythm section of Peacock and Murray and "The Copenhagen Tapes" is that band plus Don Cherry on trumpet. that last one sounds absolutely scary and true.
"Spirits Rejoice" is another classic. it's a larger band, so it's really got that celebration vibe happening. Sunny Murray has his wraith-ish moaning thing going on, and the band is really "tight," which really means "on board w/ the concept" more than polished. brother Don on trumpet, Charles Tyler on alto, Peacock and Henry Grimes on basses, Murray on drums and Albert on tenor. this is long, but it's a great track and a pretty good intro to Ayler:
Albert Ayler - Spirits Rejoice
and check out this great interview excerpt where Ayler's conversing w/ his drummer; he tells him to "knock the drums over tonight because i'm going to be vibratin' that whole plastic ceiling off." unbelievable peace and positivity radiating from this dude and a real revelation to hear him speak after you've heard him wail.
got some beer and Chubby Hubby in me, so that's all for now. will try to pop back up sooner than not.