Thread: Albert Ayler
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
clutnuckle
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Default Albert Ayler

Seeing as I love this man's work enough to dedicate a signature quote to him, I figured I'd do this up:

A free jazz saxophonist to some, a transcendent master of fusing spirituality with music to others (namely me). People go on and on about how 'Trane is the epitome of soulful sax; A Love Supreme this, Ascension that... I won't argue. I love both those records, believe me I do, but Ayler is a completely different kind of spiritual guide. He takes kind, gentle, hummable melodies, distorts and stretches them to their breaking point, and then flies off his hinges with whatever ensemble he's relying on and goes nuts. His formula would be easy to imitate if he didn't have such a perfect sax sound. Using a thick plastic reed to give his tone a harsh resonance, and having a perfect sense of when to erupt and when to squeak softly (to show fragility), he created a unique sound that immediately captured your attention and sealed the deal. His trio work realized what is basically my favorite jazz album of any kind at the moment, and likely will stay that way for quite some time, Spiritual Unity. It's part of the free jazz canon by now, so many of you may have heard of it, but if you haven't, I can't recommend it enough. Abrasive and anarchic, yet simultaneously fragile and uplifting.

Ayler was supported and admired by many of his contemporaries, including the mighty 'Trane. His legacy is a tragic one; he committed suicide in 1970.

A beautiful duet between Al and the piano:



My initial fascination began here:



Getting the Holy Ghost boxset is virtually what I've been saving up for for quite some time. Thanks to this man, I'll remember for the rest of my life that if people don't like it now, they will.



Oh, and he looks like a gym teacher sometimes. Cheers.
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