Because he lived only thirty-four years, virtually everything that Albert Ayler recorded has historical value. Much of his work was recorded live, often under less than optimal conditions, and Slug's Saloon Volume 2 falls into that category, but that shouldn't deter you from downloading it. Because Ayler's playing represented one possible extension to late Coltrane, anything he recorded live with his own groups, removed from the time constraints endemic to studio recordings, is significant. On the two long tracks that comprise Slug's Saloon, Vol. 2, Ayler's working band, which included his brother Donald on trumpet, was particularly responsive and vigorous. Ayler's idiosyncratic folk-like themes serve as springboards for the musicians 'solos, of which his are uniquely riveting. John Coltrane's innovations caused many forward-thinking jazz musicians to reevaluate the possibilities of the saxophone. Albert Ayler was one of only a few players who understood that the challenge wasn't solved by simple imitation, which is why this album is required listening.
By Kevin Whitehead on 07.03.14 in Features
A half-century ago, Albert Ayler recorded a free-jazz masterpiece.
By Andy Beta on 06.11.13 in Collections
In most other cultures, the beard is a sign of maturity, wisdom, an indicator of "yang" energy; but in America, the bearded are pushed to the fringe, to the brambled outskirts of a well-groomed, highly manicured society....
By Kevin Whitehead on 06.06.13 in Spotlights
ESP-Disk' might be the most revered and reviled of historically important jazz labels: revered for the free/avant classics it issued; reviled for its business practices. The leader of one mid-1960s ESP date still has his...
By Charles Farrell on 09.05.12 in Reviews
In describing his music, the late tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler said, "It's not about notes; it's about feelings." Fellow tenor player Frank Wright was a contemporary of Ayler's, who lived in New York City at the same t...