There will come a day when Albert Ayler's visage will become as prevalent and defiant an image as that of Che. Call him a freedom fighter, a revolutionary, a firebrand, seeking the essence at the core of all music, not just jazz. Through the '60s, Ayler's fervent breathing and circular huffing through the simplest of children songs and New Orleans marches revealed the ecstatic and cathartic beneath the song's surface, and he brought forth such energy so that each phrase flared like a comet through the cosmos. His fellow spacemen, drummer Sunny Murray and bassist Gary Peacock, provided a foundation that both tethered Ayler's mungo vibrato and launched him further into the stratosphere. On "Spirits" and the two versions of "Ghosts," such ethereal entities can be felt coursing through Ayler's music.
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...