Albert Ayler, Slug’s Saloon Vol. 2

Charles Farrell

By Charles Farrell

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Slug's Saloon Vol. 2

Albert Ayler
Required listening from a free jazz master

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.