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Albert Ayler

Albert Ayler (born July 13th, 1936 in Cleveland Heights, Ohio – New York City, November 1970) was the most primal of the free jazz musicians of the 1960s. He possessed a deep blistering tone—achieved by using the stiffest plastic reeds he could find on his tenor saxophone—and a broad, pathos. filled vibrato that came right out of church music. His trio and quartet records of 1964, like ‘Spiritual Unity’ and ‘The Hilversum Sessions’, show him advancing the improvisational notions of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman into abstract realms where timbre, not harmony and melody, is ...read more

Albert Ayler (born July 13th, 1936 in Cleveland Heights, Ohio – New York City, November 1970) was the most primal of the free jazz musicians of the 1960s. He possessed a deep blistering tone—achieved by using the stiffest plastic reeds he could find on his tenor saxophone—and a broad, pathos. filled vibrato that came right out of church music. His trio and quartet records of 1964, like ‘Spiritual Unity’ and ‘The Hilversum Sessions’, show him advancing the improvisational notions of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman into abstract realms where timbre, not harmony and melody, is the music’s backbone. His ecstatic music of 1965 and 1966, like “Spirits Rejoice” and “Truth Is Marching In” has been compared by critics to the sound of a Salvation Army brass band, and involved simple, march-like themes which alternated with wild group improvisations and took jazz back to its pre. Louis Armstrong roots.

Ayler remains something of a cult artist. “Ghosts”—with its bouncy, sing-song melody (rather reminiscent of a nursery rhyme)—is probably his best known tune, and is something of a free jazz standard, having been covered by Lester Bowie, Gary Windo, Eugene Chadbourne, Joe McPhee, John Tchicai and Ken Vandermark, among others.

Saxophonist Mars Williams led a group called Witches and Devils, which was not only named after an Ayler song, but which covered several of his songs.

Peter Brötzmann’s Die Like A Dog Quartet is a group loosely dedicated to Ayler. A record called ‘Little Birds Have Fast Hearts’ references Ayler’s youthful nickname. « hide

Similar Bands: Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Sam Rivers, Tony Williams, Eric Dolphy

LPs
The Last Album
1971

Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe
1970

New Grass
1968

Love Cry
1967

2.7
3 Votes
Spirits Rejoice
1966

3.8
3 Votes
New York Eye and Ear Control
1965

3.8
2 Votes
Spiritual Unity
1965

4.1
73 Votes
Ghosts
1965

4.3
4 Votes
Vibrations
1964

4.5
2 Votes
Witches & Devils
1964

4.5
2 Votes
Goin' Home
1964

The Copenhagen Tapes
1964

My Name Is Albert Ayler
1963

4.5
2 Votes
Live Albums
Greenwich Village: Complete Impulse Recordings
1967

4
1 Votes
Live in Greenwich Village
1967

4.1
11 Votes
Albert Smiles With Sunny
1964

Prophecy
1964


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