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My Name Is Albert Ayler

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Live In Europe 1964-66

Stockholm, Berlin 1966

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2005
June to December

BAN203

archives

News from 2005 - June to December

June 1 2005

News

U.S. Premiere of Ayler Film in Chicago

“My Name Is Albert Ayler” (aka ‘the Swedish Ayler film’) is being shown in Chicago this month as part of the 9th annual Empty Bottle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music. The film is being shown at the Gene Siskel Film Center on Sunday 19th June at 5.15 pm, and on Thursday 23rd June at 8.15 pm. The Empty Bottle site has the following information:

SUN. 6/19/05 (5:15pm; (tickets available through The Gene Siskel Film Center))
The Empty Bottle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music presents, at the Gene Siskel Film Center:
My Name Is Albert Ayler
(2005, KASPER COLLIN, Sweden, 79 minutes) Saxophonist ALBERT AYLER was arguably the most extreme exponent of fiery free jazz in the 1960s NY underground. His untimely, and still unexplained, death in 1970 truncated a productive artistic career. Perfectly timed to correspond with last year's release of Holy Ghost, a massive 10-CD set of unreleased music, My Name is Albert Ayler is the first in-depth documentary of one of the musical giants of the 20th century. Nearly a decade in the making, it includes ultra-rare footage of AYLER and band. This American debut is part of the ninth annual Empty Bottle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music. (DigiBeta video)
THU. 6/23/05 (8:15pm; (tickets available through The Gene Siskel Film Center))

Thanks to Jason Guthartz for letting me know about this.

***

New Releases

Holy Ghost on vinyl

As mentioned a couple of months ago, Revenant have started to release tracks from the Holy Ghost box set on vinyl. The first volume is a triple LP set on clear vinyl and I’ve entered what details I have so far on the Holy Ghost page of the Discography. There’s a brief review of the vinyl set (and one of Live on the Riviera) on the Volcanic Tongue site.

*

ESP

Continuing their reissue program, ESP have released a new CD coupling of Bells and Prophecy - ESP 4006 (cover shots below). Although the original, single-sided, coloured vinyl edition of Bells will always have iconic status in the story of Ayler and avant-garde jazz, it really doesn’t make much sense to release a 20 minute CD, so it’s good to see ESP thinking of its customers’ pockets and coupling it with Prophecy.

ESP4006B 4006BACK

Ayler Clips

Steve Tintweiss let me know about the J&R Music site which has brief clips from every track on the Holy Ghost box set and the Artists Direct site which has 1 minute clips of the tracks on Nuits de la Fondation Maeght. The Artists Direct site also has clips from other albums on its Albert Ayler page.

*

Marc Ribot’s Spiritual Unity

As mentioned last month, Marc Ribot’s Ayler tribute band (featuring Henry Grimes on bass), has a new CD out. There’s a review on the Guardian site, and the first part of their April 18th Amsterdam concert is archived on the 4FM: is dit nog wel Jazz? site. The second part is due to be broadcast on Saturday, June 25th at 00.02 am (i.e. two minutes after midnight on Friday) and this link should take you to the live broadcast.

*

John Wilkes Booze

I came across this by accident, following a link from Jason Guthartz’s Restructures site. John Wilkes Booze, an R&B band from Bloomington, Indiana, released a series of five CD EPs in 2002 entitled ‘Five Pillars of Soul’ - number three was Albert Ayler. The CDs now seem to be out of print, but there is an mp3 of one of the tracks (They Don't Like Me In This Town) from Volume 3 on their website and it’s well worth a listen. The sleevenotes to the Ayler tribute are also on the site, mostly culled from the Jeff Schwartz biography (where would we all be without him), but there’s a nice account of a visit to Ayler’s grave.

PILLAR3B

New Additions to the Site

Maarten Derksen sent me a review of Holy Ghost by Remco Takken (who wrote the sleevenotes for the Calibre reissues of the ESP catalog) which I’ve added to the Holy Ghost reviews page.

And thanks to ebay I’ve added a couple of pictures to the site - the cover of the Crescendo release of The First Recordings and the label of the ESP 45” single with Ornette Coleman’s ‘Sadness’ on Side A and Albert Ayler’s ‘Holy Family’ on Side B. I’ve put that at the bottom of the Spirits Rejoice page.

What’s Available page updated for June.

***

Acknowledgements

Maarten Derksen, Jason Guthartz, Jeff Stockton and Steve Tintweiss.

***

July 1 2005

News

folk2

My Name Is Albert Ayler

Folkets Bio, the distributors of the new Swedish Ayler documentary, have some interesting promotional material on their site, including the posters above and below (and a large version of the photo of the Ayler band ‘havin’ a fag’ outside Slug’s). It looks like the film is a hit in Sweden, but I’ve yet to see a review of last month’s shows in Chicago. If anyone saw it at the Gene Siskel Film Center, I’d love to know what kind of reception it got.

FOLK3

*

The Albert Ayler Project

Graham Mackeachan sent me the following details of Ayler happenings in Bristol this month:

THE ALBERT AYLER PROJECT
at
The Cube
(Dove Street South, Bristol BS2 8JB)

(Thursday July 14th / 8pm / £4)

“A concert inspired by the free and spiritual music of one of the most charismatic and mythologised jazz musicians of them all.
In the era of Vietnam, civil rights, and hippy culture, Ayler rewrote the saxophone rulebook with his unhinged, free form, holy other kind of blues. Drawing on spirituals, folk song, marches and, as he saw it, the word of God Himself, he had become the catalytic force in free jazz by his death in 1970.
Tonight two specially commissioned performances from THE ALBERT AYLER PROJECT, a loose knit pool of creative musicians from the South West and London, bringing reworkings, improvisations and a little of their own cosmic transcendence to the Cube.

FIRST PERFORMANCE:
John Grieve (Tenor Sax)
Graham Mackeachan (Double Bass)
Roger Skerman (Drums)

SECOND PERFORMANCE:
Geoff Hawkins (Tenor / Soprano Sax)
Pete Judge (trumpet)
Diana van Loock (violin)
Graham Mackeachan (Double Bass)
Roger Skerman (Drums)

In memory of John Boulding, musician 1947-2005”

The Albert Ayler Project was put together by Roger Skerman in 1991, and has performed Ayler's music off and on since then, mostly in the South West and London.

*

Frank Wright

Following last year’s release of Holy Ghost, which included Frank Wright’s session with the Ayler band at Cleveland’s La Cave, the new double CD from ESP ‘Frank Wright - The Complete ESP-Disk Recordings’ could be of interest to Ayler fans. It combines the two original ESP albums, ‘Frank Wright Trio’ and ‘Your Prayer’ - the latter a 1967 session featuring Steve Tintweiss on bass.

*

Just a thought...

I received an email from Chris Iacono asking whether the sound quality of the new ESP release of Bells/Prophecy is better than the version on the ZYX label. I had to admit I had no idea, since I've never been in the position where the money has been 'strong enough' to collect all the variants in the Ayler catalogue. However it did make me wonder whether there was any variation in the sound quality of the different CD editions of the Ayler albums. If there are any dedicated Ayler collectors out there who can shed some light on the matter I'd like to hear from you.

***

New Additions to the Site

An 18 page article from the November 1980 edition of the Dutch magazine, Jazz Nu - ‘De Schreeuw van Albert Ayler’ by
Han Schulte - has been added to the Archive section.

What’s Available page updated for July.

***

Acknowledgements

Mikael Andersson, Maarten Derksen, Graham Mackeachen and Steve Tintweiss.

***

August 1 2005

News

My Name Is Albert Ayler

Kasper Collin’s film, “My Name Is Albert Ayler”, is due to be shown at the Odense Film Festival in Denmark on Sunday 14th August and Monday 15th August. The Festival website has the following information about the film and its director:

collin

“KASPER COLLIN, born in 1972, has been working with film and television since the mid 90s. He has directed shorts and documentaries. My Name is Albert Ayler is his first feature length documentary.

The film is a collage of archive material, rare concert recordings and interviews with Albert Aylers father, his brother Don Ayler and his close colleagues. Aylers own voice runs through the whole film. He was found dead in East River, New York, 1970, only 34 years old. It was never discovered, whether it was accident, murder or suicide. The film was made in his home town Cleveland and in New York, Chicago, London, Stockholm and Arvidsjaur between 1998 and 2004.”

*

John Wilkes Booze

In the June update I mentioned an Ayler tribute EP by the band ‘John WIlkes Booze’ and linked to an mp3 of the track, They Don't Like Me In This Town. I did say the EP was no longer available, which prompted an email from Eric Weddle, informing me that three tracks from the EP are included on the band’s CD, ‘Five Pillars of Soul’ on the Kill Rock Stars label. Eric also added this information about ‘They Don’t Like Me In This Town’:

The JWB mp3 you have linked starts out with a "sample" of Angels, that was actually a recording I made sitting in my car, CD playing, at the cemetery in Cleveland. You can hear the car shut off/keys removed before the "field recording" of the cemetery wind... one cold day.”

*

jwb

Albert Ayler T-shirts

Don’t worry I’m not going into the T-shirt business but I did come across this on ebay:

C2_1_B

Maybe we can take it as an indication of Ayler’s growing popularity in the world, or maybe not. There was a copy of The Last Album on ebay at the same time, with a starting price of $10, which attracted no bids at all. Admittedly it’s not one of Ayler’s best, but it is a bit of a rarity, with a very limited release on CD, and it’s certainly been unavailable for the last five years since this site went online, so you’d expect some interest. So, I thought I’d add an mp3 of Water Music to the Last Album page in the discography.
(Due to the bandwidth problems on the original Supanet site, the mp3 is only available on the main site at www.ayler.org/albert, so click this link to transfer.)

***

New Additions to the Site

New review of the Revenant box set from the ‘Double Bassist’ magazine added to the Holy Ghost review page.
Photos from the 1966 Rotterdam concert added to the Band and Don Ayler photo pages.

What’s Available page updated for August.

***

Acknowledgements

Kees Hazevoet, Steve Tintweiss and Eric Weddle.

***

September 1 2005

News

New Grass re-released

newg

According to the Verve site, Albert Ayler’s New Grass will be re-released on September 13th. Although it has been available for some time as a Japanese import (occasionally listed in distinctly non-pc fashion as “New Glass”), I believe this is the first time it’s been made generally available on CD. I still won’t be buying it though.

*

My Name Is Albert Ayler in Seattle

Apparently the U.S. premiere of Kasper Collin’s film, “My Name Is Albert Ayler”, did not take place at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago in June (due to ‘circumstances beyond our control’ according to the GSFC website). However, the film is due to be shown in Seattle in  October. The Northwest Film Forum is showing the film at 9 pm from October 26th to 30th, and Kasper Collin will be attending the ‘West Coast Premiere’ on the 26th.

*

Ayler in Montreal

Not the film this time, but Stuart Broomer’s account of a September 1967 meeting with Ayler in Canada, first published in Coda Magazine (No. 272, March/ April 1997), is now available online in The Last Post section of The Jazz Journalists Association’s Jazz House site. Well worth reading, particularly since it includes a description of an Ayler gig with a line-up which, as far as I know, was never recorded - Don on trumpet, Albert on saxes, Call Cobbs on piano, Bill Davis on bass and Rashied Ali on drums.

*

New Ayler Site

Not sure how new this German Ayler site is, but I’ve only just come across it. It’s the work of Boris Chomski and is very neat - unlike the great shambling affair that this place has become.

*

Live on the Riviera

Steve Tintweiss emailed to say that the Artist Direct site now has one-minute clips of Live On The Riviera online and he also added this about the recording:

“This was the one time I was fortunate enough to get to play some extended trios and duets with Albert Ayler, plus a couple of short solos, which was well recorded from the radio feed. The first night concert concluded with a trio version of the new free-jazz anthem ‘Ghosts’.”

*

some words about Norman Howard

As I was just about to put this month’s update online, I received the following email from Roy Morris, which I thought I should add here:

“ i first heard about Albert Ayler in 1964 and bought Spirits on Debut 146 later that year. this danish lp was sold by Collet's, the communist book-shop in London. i loved the music and was thrilled by Albert's highly original trumpeter, NORMAN HOWARD. i read that George Coppens of Osmosis Records had been in New York and discovered an unreleased session by Norman. but when i contacted him, George had shelved his idea of releasing the music, believing Norman's playing to be inept.

i had a cassette copy which i listened to frequently. in 1988 i was in a position to offer to buy the master tape. i produced 100 cassette copies and sold it as SIGNALS on Homeboy music 1. the music was greeted with ecstatic reviews and great enthusiasm from those who bought it. with the proceeds i purchased 2 more unmastered tapes i discovered mr. coppens owned. these were massive 1/2" reels, whose boxes bore Bernard Stollman's writing and had clearly once "belonged" to ESP-DISK. i added this music to Signals and put it out as side b of Homeboy music 2 entitled BURN, BABY, BURN in 1993. this time the plan was to distribute it through William Parker's Stork Music setup. unfortunately this went out of business, so i gave the remaining copies to musicians i felt would be interested.

hardly a commercial enterprise, but i was contacted by Henry Rollins (ex. Black Flag) who thought the music was great, and wanted to release it "with significant publicity" on his own 2.13.61 label. i happily sold him the masters in 1997. since then, there has been only resounding silence.

i was never able to make contact with norman, or find out what became of him. his musical partner, Joe Phillips converted to Islam, changing his name to Yusef Mumin, and moved to Milwaukee. Norman also became a Muslim in the early 80's and may have followed Yusef there.

incidentally, Sunny Murray, recalling the Spirits session, remembered Norman playing his own compositions, including Witches And Devils, for two hours before demonstrating the music on Sunny's drums, and then switching to alto saxophone !

if any-one out there would like to hear the music of Norman Howard, close friend of Albert Ayler, send whatever you like [*] and i'll be happy to make them a copy of BURN, BABY, BURN.

maybe we can make something happen.

this music deserves to be heard. ”

* Roy included his home address in Scotland at this point, but I thought it best to omit it. So, if you want to take advantage of Roy’s offer, send him an email.

*

And finally...

Googling around for Norman Howard (in case there was somebody out there who knows what happened to him), I came across an interview with Leo Smith on the Vancouver Jazz site, which included the following:

There's another person we shouldn't leave out and I think he's one of the major innovators on the trumpet, Don Ayler.”

And talking of Don, Tim Witham let me know about a version of his ‘Our Prayer’ on the CD(ep), Sounds Like A Sandwich, from the Cato Salsa Experience and The Thing with Joe McPhee. It’s a 20 minute live performance, which as well as Don’s tune includes versions of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and ‘Art Star’. I’ve added it to the Versions page.

***

New Additions to the Site

What’s Available page updated for September.

What’s New page from January to May 2005 transferred to the archives.

***

Acknowledgements

Roy Morris, Steve Tintweiss and Tim Witham.

***

October 1 2005

News

Norman Howard Lives!

Following up on last month’s item about Norman Howard - Roy Morris also posted his message about Norman Howard’s music on the Organissimo forum where it elicited this response: "Norman Howard is my dad and I can forward messages to him. He still resides in Cleveland. Contact info can be forwarded to ngold@bww.com." No more news at present but I will be keeping an eye on developments.

Roy sent me a copy of the Norman Howard tapes and the music definitely deserves to be released in some proper form. Ideally, since one of the sessions was recorded for ESP and was originally intended to be released as ESP 1073, that would seem to be its natural home, but I guess that’s now a matter of negotiation between Henry Rollins and Bernard Stollman.

One point I would like to make is that the Norman Howard tapes do shed some more light on the strange recording session of 24th February 1964 which produced Witches & Devils (aka Spirits) and Swing Low Sweet Spiritual (aka Goin’ Home). Given Sunny Murray’s remarks about the session (mentioned in Roy’s email last month) it does seem that Howard has been denied his due credit all these years. It certainly seems that the track, ‘Witches and Devils’, was Howard’s composition (confirmed by Clyde Shy - now Mutawef Shaheed, bass player on the Cleveland La Cave sessions - in an interview with Richard Koloda), and having heard the Howard tapes, they do have a similar ‘feel’ to the Witches & Devils album as a whole. The general critical opinion of Witches & Devils is that Howard was just a friend of Ayler’s brought in for the session and his contribution to the music has tended to be downgraded. To choose a review at random, this is from The Penguin Guide To Jazz On CD:

“Jensen arranged a recording in New York City. This might be seen as Albert’s real debut, but Howard was more of a sympathetic friend than a genuinely challenging musician, and he seems no more certain of Ayler’s direction than the Scandinavian sidemen on the deleted First Recordings. However, he had the basic chops and a sufficient measure of respect for his friend to throw himself into the project, and he plays more than competently on ‘Saints’, ‘Witches and Devils’, ‘Holy Holy’ and, the track that gave the original release its title, ‘Spirits’.”

I’m not suggesting that all copies of Witches & Devils (aka Spirits) should be recalled (although it would be nice to settle on a title) and Ayler’s name should be stricken from the covers, just that, perhaps in future, critics could acknowledge Howard’s major contribution to the music on that album.

***

New Grass

Verve have released New Grass on CD, but have not included any extra material from the sessions (there is one known track, ‘Thank God For Women’, which has never been released). However it has been digitally remastered and is released as part of the ‘LP Reproductions Series’ (“Each 96 kHz, 24-bit remastered disc is presented in a special miniature LP package that features original artwork” - otherwise known as a digipack). Hopefully the new CD will sell well and won’t do as much damage to Ayler’s reputation as it did when it first appeared, then perhaps Verve will release the third (and probably best) of the ‘Ayler Impulse rock albums’ - The Last Album. Full details of New Grass are now on the Verve site, and there’s also an unbiased, sympathetic review by Michael Stack on Amazon.com.

***

ESP Box Set

And talking of Amazon, they’ve also got a listing for “Albert Ayler - The Complete ESP-Disk Recordings [BOX SET]”, due for release on October 18th. I have no idea what this is. After the Revenant box was released, ESP did announce that they were preparing their own box set of Ayler recordings, including all the Ayler titles in the ESP catalog, with additional unreleased material. However, there’s been no more news about the ESP box, there’s no mention of this set on the ESP website, and they also seem to have lost their forum. The fact that the Amazon listing gives the label as ESP/Caliber makes me wonder whether this is just some remnant of the Dutch Caliber license and perhaps Caliber have packaged the Ayler ESP CDs together and shoved ‘em in a box. Who knows?...

***

Bernard Stollman and John Kruth

... presumably Bernard Stollman, founder of ESP, an international man of mystery if ever there was one. John Kruth, journalist, biographer of Roland Kirk and Townes Van Zandt, poet and musician (a Renaissance man if ever there was one) wrote an article about Bernard Stollman for Signal To Noise and has let me add it to the archive section of this site. Although it’s not strictly about Albert Ayler, I thought it was a useful addition since the careers of Stollman and Ayler are still inextricably linked (Stollman is a representative of at least one branch of the ‘Ayler estate’).

‘Bernard Stollman - The Man From 5 D’ by John Kruth

John Kruth is currently writing the liner notes for the new ESP version of Live at Slugs Saloon and he has also written an article about Albert Ayler for the Winter 2005 edition of Signal To Noise, which is available to read on his own website (click on ‘Albert Ayler’ in the Articles & Interviews list).

***

Heavy Metal: de uma spiritual reunion com o Albert Ayler no Esgoto ao asfalt tango da Fanfare Ciocarlia no Cine-Teatro de Alcobaça!

For those who can read Portuguese (unfortunately I can’t), there’s an article about Albert Ayler by José Alberto Vasco on the Tinta Fresca site.

***

Nuits de la Fondation Maeght Poster

I came across this on ebay - the poster designed by Saul Steinberg for the 1970 concerts at the Fondation Maeght:

posterfm

www.supanet.com Dies!

As from this month I’m abandoning the www.supanet.com site (and the mirror site at http://ayler0.tripod.com). This site went online at www. supanet.com in June 2000, and the Supanet ISP served Albert Ayler well until last October when Revenant released the Holy Ghost box set and the increased traffic caused all the ‘bandwidth exceeded’ problems. Thanks to Grainger Reece I now have this site, www.ayler.org, but I have continued updating the Supanet site as usual, mainly because it always comes out top on google. Now, however, I’ve decided to let it go. I’ll keep it online, because of the links from other sites, but I won’t be updating it, and hopefully in time people will get the message.

***

New Additions to the Site

John Kruth’s article on Bernard Stollman and, thanks to his article on Albert Ayler, a couple of new additions to the Versions page. Apparently the Violent Femmes are Ayler fans and there’s a version of ‘New Generation’ on Freak Magnet, and their bass player, Brian Ritchie has a version of ‘Change Has Come’ on his CD, Shakuhachi Club NYC.

What’s Available page updated for October.

***

Acknowledgements

Margaret Davis, Gary Gray, Richard Koloda, John Kruth, Roy Morris and José Alberto Vasco.

***

October 10 2005

News

ESP Box Set

Thanks to ‘Chaney’ who alerted me to a new notice on the ESP site which denounces “Albert Ayler - The Complete ESP-Disk Recordings [BOX SET]” as a bootleg release. The box set is listed at a couple of online stores (including Amazon) as being due for release later this month but there are no details yet of what it contains, but it’s definitely not the Ayler box which ESP have mentioned in the past. The ESP message runs as follows:

Known Bootlegs:

The following products are bootlegs. They are NOT, as claimed, the complete ESP-DISK' recordings, and they are not authorized by ESP-DISK'. They contain outmoded and technically inferior versions of certain of these works.

Authentic, digitally remastered verrsions of these recordings are available on ESP-DISK'. NOTHING IS, for example, contains over 20 minutes of previously unreleased material.

ESP-DISK' is taking appropriate legal action to protect its proprietary rights and those of its artists. Thank you for your support.

With kind regards,
ESP

    · Albert Ayler - The Complete ESP-Disk' Recordings
    (esp1, Barcode: 646315820226, Distributors: Koch, Runt)

    · Sun Ra - The Complete ESP-Disk' Recordings
    (esp2, Barcode: 646315820225, Distributors: Koch, Runt)

    · Albert Ayler - Slug's Saloon
    (Fruit Tree 841, Barcode: 8013252384127, Distributor: City Hall)

    · Albert Ayler - Complete Live at Slug's Saloon
    (Lone Hill 10101, Barcode: 8436019581018)”

***

Albert Ayler radio programme

And thanks to Maarten Derksen for letting me know about a radio programme about Albert Ayler to be broadcast on Tuesday 11th October on the Dutch Concertzender station. The Art of the Improvisers includes selections from the Holy Ghost box set and goes out at 10 pm tomorrow night.

***

November 1 2005

News

New Albert Ayler book

A new book about Ayler has been published in France. Tous les blues d'Albert Ayler by Simon Guibert is based on the radio documentary by Simon Guibert and Yvon Croizier broadcast on France Musique in February 2005. The 133 page paperback is published by E-Dite (ISBN 2846081638) and is available from the French Amazon site.

aylerbook

New Additions to the Site

Don Ayler Discography

Thanks to a kind soul who recently sent me a cassette copy of the triple LP set, Don Ayler Live In Florence 1981, I thought I should add a page to the discography section on the site featuring the music of Don Ayler. Don’s output as leader is notoriously small, consisting of the two tracks included in the Holy Ghost box set, and the unreleased session for Amiri Baraka’s Jihad label, so the new page merely consists of Live in Florence.

Until I received the tapes I hadn’t heard the music before and, given its reputation, was expecting the worst. However, considering it’s a live recording of a two hour concert, it’s not too bad at all. It’s obviously not as amazing as the two tracks on Holy Ghost, but this was recorded twelve years later when Don had practically retired from the music scene, just playing occasionally in his home town of Cleveland. So, it’s not a lost classic of jazz, but it’s a lot less embarrassing than New Grass.

Live in Florence has never been released on CD, and I presume that the Italian record label, Frame, is no longer in existence. Because of various legal arrangements Don does not receive any royalties from sales of his brother’s records (not even for his own composition ‘Our Prayer’), so a legitimate reissue of Live in Florence would help him out a lot. If anyone has any idea how this could be achieved, or has any information about the current location of the master tapes, I’d be grateful if they’d email me.

The sleevenotes from Live in Florence are available on the Don Ayler Discography page, and they include an interview with Don. I have also added an mp3 of the opening to ‘The Eastern Song’ from Volume 3, which is actually the same tune as ‘Prophet John’ in the Holy Ghost set - the complete track is 17 minutes long and I thought that would be a bit excessive, but if you want to hear how it starts and ends, click the pictures below.

Donmp

‘The Eastern Song’
(opening section)

Donmp02

‘The Eastern Song’
(closing section)

*

What’s Available page updated for November.

***

Acknowledgements

Pierre Crepon, Richard Koloda, Guy Kopelowicz and Roy Morris

***

December 1 2005

News

“My Name Is Albert Ayler” website

There’s a website for Kasper Collin’s film, at www.mynameisalbertayler.com. Not much on it as yet, but there are some extracts from reviews of the film and the site is in English.

The U.S. premiere of the film did go ahead in Seattle in October as part of the Earshot Jazz Festival, and the Jazz Times Magazine has this review by Thomas Conrad:

“It may seem strange, in a festival that presented so many significant living artists, to close with an event that featured one who died in 1970. But the United States premier of My Name Is Albert Ayler, a documentary film by young Swedish director Kasper Collin, was the single most important revelation of the festival.

To make Albert Ayler live again is a daunting task for a filmmaker, because little archival footage exists of Ayler’s life and career. But through an inspired assemblage of photos, rare films, music, audio interviews with Ayler and extensive recent filmed interviews with family members, friends and fellow artists, Ayler is indeed made flesh. The interviews with Ayler’s 89-year-old father, his brother/sideman Donald Ayler (who now struggles with mental illness) and drummer Sunny Murray rivet the viewer’s imagination and haunt it when the film is over. Director Collin achieves the almost impossible: He creates a portrait of artistic sainthood that is persuasive and unsentimental.

My Name Is Albert Ayler is one of the most starkly beautiful and moving documentaries ever made about a jazz musician. Collin has not yet secured a U.S. distributor for his film. More information can be obtained at mynameisalbertayler.com.”

***

New Reissues

Two definite re-releases of Albert Ayler albums this month, but still no news about the unofficial ‘ESP box set’ which is being offered for pre-order (release date is the 12th of this month) at a number of internet stores. ESP have released their 2 CD set of SlugsSaloon (pictures of the sleeve below) and further details are available on the ESP site.

esp4025 4025_liners

And Lonehill Jazz are due to release Nuits de la Fondation Maeght on the 5th of this month (and at a bargain price according to        amazon.co.uk.

nuitlone

***

Alan Silva’s Radio IHHAVEC

Alan Silva has launched his own radio station at Live 365. Check it out.

***

New Additions to the Site

What’s Available page updated for December.

***

Acknowledgements

Maarten Derksen and Alan Silva.

***

December 20 2005

News

Let’s Jazz!

Many thanks to Kees Hazevoet for sending me a copy of Lets Jazz 29: Albert Ayler:

LETSJAZ

This CD-sized, 60 page hardback book, with accompanying CD, was one of a 31-part series, issued weekly by the Portuguese newspaper, Público. The series was produced by José Duarte of the Centro de Estudos de Jazz at the Universidade de Aveiro and the Ayler volume appeared at the beginning of December. Considering that most of the series are devoted to different jazz instruments, and only ten musicians get a whole issue to themselves, it is quite amazing that Albert Ayler makes it into that top ten. The other featured musicians are: Louis Armstrong, Eric Dolphy, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. At first sight it's a very impressive article. The book is packed with photos of Ayler, his bands and record sleeves. I can't comment on the text since I don't know Portuguese - although maybe I should say that Kees was not that impressed. However, I do have reservations about the CD. If you notice the record label logos on the cover, it's obvious that the compilers of the Albert Ayler volume were limited to choosing tracks from the Impulse catalogue, which is now owned by Verve. The CD starts off well enough with three tracks from Live In Greenwich Village: The Complete Impulse Recordings, but then we get three tracks from New Grass and three from Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe. I know other people don't have the same problems I do with the three late Impulses, but I still think it must give a weird impression of Ayler to people who've maybe never heard his music before. What's really astonishing is that there's nothing from Love Cry, which is arguably Ayler's last great studio album. That was released by Impulse, and is still available from Verve, and some of the short tracks would have made a nice addition and added some context to Ayler's development during the late period.

On the whole, it makes for a strange addition to the Ayler discography and no doubt copies will be turning up on ebay shortly.

***

“ESP” Box Set

I decided to add another update this month because the unofficial ESP box set was due to be released on the 12th. I still can’t find a track listing but I did come across this picture of the sleeve on the DiscMedi site:

ESPBOX

Ayler Sheet Music

Lyn Brown of the Totnes Jazz Collective in Devon emailed me to ask if I knew if any of Ayler’s compositions were available as sheet music, since they are organising an Ayler Tribute next March. I had to admit I’ve never come across any, so I thought I’d mention it here in case anyone else can help. Email me if you can.

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Marc Ribot’s Spiritual Unity Quartet

Margaret Davis sent me a flyer for some January concerts in New York by Marc Ribot’s Spiritual Unity Quartet (Music by and for Albert Ayler):

Thursday, Jan. 5th, 'O6, 1O p.m., the Stone, Ave. C & 2nd St., NYC, 212-841-O899, thestonenyc.com/calendar.php.

Sunday, Jan. 22, Winter Jazzfest, Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard St. betw. Church St. & B'way, NYC, 212-219-3OO6, knittingfactory.com, 15 groups from 6 p.m. (Dave Burrell/ Vijay Iyer/ John Medeski/ Pyeng Threadgill, et al.).

And here’s a photo of the group:

RIBOTSU

(l-r) Henry Grimes, Chad Taylor, Marc Ribot, Roy Campbell, Jr.
photo © Dominik Huber, dominikphoto.com

***

And finally......

Thanks to everyone who’s contributed to the site this year. Have the merriest of Christmases. See you in 2006!

***

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