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2008

BAN203

archives

News from 2008

January 1 2008

News

aajazzflits

Kees Hazevoet pointed out to me that the picture of Albert, above, which was included in the issue of JazzFlits which carried Don’s obituary, was taken on the day of John Coltrane’s funeral.

***

My Name Is Albert Ayler - a report from Steve Tintweiss

Steve Tintweiss, bass player on the Fondation Maeght sessions, attended the recent showings of Kasper Collin’s My Name Is Albert Ayler in New York, and sent me this account of his initial reactions to the film.

“Season's Greetings!

As we begin the New Year I would like to encourage everyone to see the Swedish documentary film “My Name is Albert Ayler” if it comes to a city near you. The American tour continues in 2008 with showings in Los Angeles starting on March 7th with additional screenings in Portland, Detroit, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Ann Arbour, and additional locations t.b.a. There are also current year end repeat showings at the Institute of Contemporary Arts “Documentaries of the Year” series of eight films screening at the ICA Cinema in London. The URL link for the film’s website is below. Click the “News” tab for updates:

http://www.mynameisalbertayler.com/

The U.S. Theatrical Premiere Run took place at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City November 8 through 14 to mostly sold out audiences and critical acclaim. As mentioned on the website, filmmaker Kasper Collin was present each night, and held Q & A sessions after each evening’s first screening, as well as presenting short introductions beforehand. Indeed, fellow bassist Bill Folwell was present for the premiere, coming up from Florida with his daughter and son-in-law. Bill and I took part in the Q & A after the premiere. There were some impromptu photos and brief video shots with the filmmaker. ESP Disk founder Bernard Stollman was present as well. I also attended the first of two sold-out shows at their smaller theater on November 13, and again participated in the post screening discussion.

This is an excellent documentary covering his brief recording career starting in Scandinavia in the early 1960’s. The dearth of available concert footage is skillfully supplemented with still photos, period scenes, audio interviews and music montage material mixed in. While the film as a whole is quite inspirational and accurate, there are a few disappointing shortcomings. My only criticism is related to the incomplete, and somewhat confusing identification of the musicians and locations starting mid-point in the film. After we’ve all been spoiled by the extremely thorough documentary details in the Grammy nominated Revenant “Holy Ghost” audio box set, there are facts which need to be identified for Ayler scholars and fans. All musicians were dutifully identified until a concert photo of the band is shown over the music soundtrack, where drummer Beaver Harris is not credited along with the other members. Details toward the end of the film are also omitted or potentially misleading. There are two short segments from the July 27, 1970 Maeght Fondation concert where live music is mixed with other recordings as well as voice-over interviews. Only Albert and Mary Maria Parks are identified. While singer Mary Maria is shown sitting on the stage, radiant…blissful, but not performing, there are clear action shots of pianist Call Cobbs and drummer Allen Blairman performing. Yours truly, Steve Tintweiss, is briefly shown playing arco bass, but the soundtrack is a collage mix from an earlier Ayler band. The second brief clip from the Maeght Fondation has an intense capture of Albert Ayler singing “Thank God for Women” then taking a funky tenor saxophone solo. This was my favorite performance of our brief tour in the South-of-France, and is a track that has been previously unreleased on any of the award winning albums on vinyl or CD. There is a nice shot of me plucking behind Albert. During that section there is a voice-over with subtitles interview with Bill Folwell describing how Albert's rock-and-roll arrangements were an attempt to reach a wider commercial audience. This faded into a few more seconds of the Maeght performance when English subtitles appear that state that Albert Ayler recorded “New Grass” for Impulse records to begin that commercial (and implied final) phase in Albert’s career. These are misleading statements as edited in the particular scene since the music underneath is widely acknowledged as Albert Ayler’s final return to his rhythm & blues, and free jazz roots, and a break from his late Impulse commercial rock oriented period. It also may confuse many viewers into believing that the bass player in the scene is actually Bill Folwell some 37 years ago and not myself, since none of the sidemen are identified. However, the hint of the powerful music performance excerpts leads one to hope for the overdue worldwide release of the full-length concert footage of the limited European release French documentary film (“Albert Ayler: Le Dernier Concert” directed by Jean-Michel Meurice) of the music and interviews from that final concert performance which was shot live in the geodesic dome atop the mountain outside St. Paul de Vence. Only a portion of the informal set at the Vacation Village Tourisme a couple of days later on the premises where we were staying survives in audio, which was included in the box set as Albert Ayler’s final known recordings. There was one more concert in Springfield, MA after we returned; no known recording exists from that performance. I spoke with violinist Leroy Jenkins about that final performance on a few occasions, including shortly before his death last year, since I wasn’t present on that gig. Thus, the French documentary movie of the second Maeght Fondation performance represents the last known repository of previously unreleased Albert Ayler performances that we can hope will be made available soon.

Best wishes for a healthy and Happy New Year 2008 to all.

Steve Tintweiss December 29, 2007 Fresh Meadows, New York City.”

*

My Name Is Albert Ayler - 2

More news of the film on the website’s news page, including the startling headline: “My Name Is Albert Ayler recommended by Viggo Mortensen”.

There’s also a review on the Talking Pictures site which I don’t think I’ve mentioned before.

***

Obituaries

The JazzHOUSE.org site (official website of the Jazz Journalists Association) has an obituary of Don Ayler in its Last Post section, under the title, “Reclusive Trumpeter”.

On a personal note I’d also like to mark the passing of Oscar Peterson on December 23rd. I don’t usually mention the deaths of jazz musicians unless they had some connection with Albert Ayler. Oscar Peterson had none. But it was hearing a track from his LP, “A Jazz Portrait of Frank Sinatra”, on the wireless back in 1964 that initially sparked my interest in jazz.

***

New Additions to the Site

Last year’s ‘What’s New’ page has been archived and the What’s Available page has been updated for January.

***

January 20 2008

News

Don Ayler article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer

The response of the Press to the death of Donald Ayler last October was, to put it mildly, disappointing. Aside from Val Wilmer's obituary in The Guardian there was nothing in the mainstream newspapers, and, most surprising of all, no mention of Don's passing in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. So, it's good to report that the Plain Dealer has finally made up for its earlier omission with an excellently researched article by Tom Feran. The article is available on the paper’s main site, but is also available in its music section which contains a link to the Cleveland La Cave version of ‘Our Prayer’ from the Holy Ghost set.

There’s also a link to the My Name Is Albert Ayler site, which contains the tantalising comment, “coming on DVD”. And that’s what it now says on the Shop section of the site: “It’ll soon be possible to preorder the DVD on the website. More news on this shortly.”

***

February 1 2008

News

Marc Ribot’s Spiritual Unity Quartet

Marc Ribot’s Spiritual Unity, with Marc Ribot (leader, guitars, voice), Roy Campbell, Jr. (trumpets), and Chad Taylor (drums), and featuring Henry Grimes (double-bass, violin), on tour in Norway, Denmark, Turkey, Switzerland, and France:

Friday, February 1st: concert at Sardinen USF in Kulturhuset USF, Nordnes, Georgernes Verft 3, Bergen, Norway, 1O p.m.
Saturday, February 2nd: Henry Grimes workshop, 2:3O-4:3O p.m., & Marc Ribot workshop, 4:3O-6:3O p.m., followed by concert at 8, all at Hall Toll, Skansengaten 2, 4OO6 Stavanger, Norway.
Sunday, February 3rd: concert at Copenhagen Jazz House, Niels Hemminsens Gade 1O, 1OO9K Copenhagen, Denmark, 8:3O p.m.
Tuesday, February 5th: concert at Is Sanat Arts & Culture Centre, Istanbul Hall, Is Kuleleri, Kule 1, Kat:17, 3433O Levent, Istanbul, Turkey,    8 p.m.
Thursday, February 7th: concert at Moods in Schiffbau, Schiffbaustrasse 6, Zurich, Switzerland, 8:3O p.m.
Friday, February 8th: concert at Pole Sud, 1, Rue de Bourgogne, 671OO Strasbourg, France, 8:3O p.m.
Saturday, February 9th: concert at Cite de la Musique, 221, avenue Jean Jaurès, 75O19 Paris, France, 8 p.m.

mrsu

My Name Is Albert Ayler

No further news on the DVD, but the film’s website has the following screenings listed:

Belgium:
Muhka Cinema, Antwerp: February 1st.

U.S.:
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles: March 5th.
International House, Philadelphia: March 6th.
Laemmles Grande 4-plex, Los Angeles: L.A. Theatrical Premiere run opens on March 7th.
Red Vic Movie House, San Francisco: S.F. Theatrical Premiere March 9th - 11th.
Mocad, Detroit: March 14th, 15th.

U.K.
Blackbox, Belfast, Northern Ireland: March 25th.

***

Hatology 617

Redesigning the What’s Available page (see below), I came across a mention of this item: Albert Ayler - Berlin and Stockholm 1966 (Hatology 617). There’s no reference to it on the official Hathut Records site either as a current or future release, but the Downtown Music Gallery has it listed as available for pre-order. I first heard about this back in March 2005 but I’ve seen nothing since. Whether this is just a glitch in a database, or whether a new Ayler CD is on the way, I don’t know, but I’ll keep watching the skies.

***

Abraxas sampler

Back when Hathut announced a new Ayler CD, ESP also announced an Ayler box set - Holy Ghost had just been released and Albert Ayler was flavour of the month. The ESP box never materialised, but Abraxas, the one-time Italian licensee of ESP rushed out their own 4 CD box, The Complete Esp Disk Recordings much to Bernard Stollman’s chagrin. I’ve just come across another Abraxas repackaging enterprise, a sampler entitled The Old New Thing: A Free Jazz Anthology, a 2 CD set with a book and fancy sleeve, containing two tracks from Spiritual Unity. More details available on the Jazz Loft site and here’s a picture:

wuming02

News of the Site

What’s Available

Finally got round to redesigning the What’s Available page. When the site started it was easier to pin down what Ayler albums were in the shops, but now, with ebay, Amazon marketplace, specialist stores and download sites, who knows what you can get hold of? My monthly update of what you could buy from Amazon and the rest seemed a bit redundant, so I’m abandoning that and I’ve changed the page to a list of what appears to be generally available, which I will update as the need arises. I don’t like to make definitive statements about which Ayler records you can get and which you can’t because someone will point out they came across an original copy of Something Different!!!!!! in HMV up Hanley, but it seems to me that the following Ayler albums have now slipped out of the regular catalogue:
The First Recordings Volumes 1 and 2, My Name Is Albert Ayler, Goin’ Home, Ghosts, Sonny’s Time Now, Lorrach/Paris 1966 and The Last Album. Of course, The First Recordings Volume 1 and The Last Album have been missing for some time (certainly since this site went online), but it does appear that the Black Lion, DIW and Hathut CDs have now disappeared from the regular internet stores. It’s about time they made some more.

***

March 1 2008

News

ESP Radio

The ESP site has a new feature - ESP Radio. This is currently running the first part of a tribute to Albert Ayler. It lasts for around 2 hours and, according to the presenter, Michael Anderson, is the first of four, so the whole thing will run for 8 hours (I guess you could have worked that out yourself). It makes use of the interviews in the Holy Ghost box set (which is now distributed by ESP) for Albert’s input but it also includes segments from Bernard Stollman and another star turn from Sunny Murray around the halfway mark. Lots of tracks (not just from ESP albums) and the story of Ayler’s musical development is dealt with in strict chronological order. It’s also nice to hear Michael Anderson confirm that the composition, “Witches and Devils” was written by Norman Howard.

However, I wrote the above and then had a look round for more information - the ESP site is a bit lacking and I wondered when the next part was due - and I found the press release for the launch of ESP Radio on another site:

_____

THE JANUARY 2008 ESP RADIO LAUNCH PRESS RELEASE

Dear Friend,
January of 2008, MDA Music productions, in cooperation with ESP-Disk LTD, will present ESP Radio, produced and hosted by Michael D. Anderson. As a “Free Service” the ESP Radio music format will consist of music found exclusively in the ESP-Disk jazz catalog.
The programming can be downloaded from the ESP web site into an I-pod or played on any standard MP3 player. Each program will be up to 2 hours in length per downloadable file, filled with music found in the ESP-Disk jazz catalog and contains artist interview footage from Michael Anderson’s personal archive.
Our first 2008 program will be an 8 hour “Tribute To Albert Ayler”, featuring interviews with Bernard Stollman, Albert Ayler, Sunny Murray, Milford Graves, Burton Greene, Don Cherry, and others. The program will be available from January to the end of February 2008 and then archived. We invite Press and Radio affiliates to review the Tribute To Albert Ayler files for reviews in magazines and radio websites.
March 1st through the end of April of 2008, ESP Radio will take a look at the ESP-Disk jazz catalog with a mix of music and artist interview footage from the archive of Michael D. Anderson. Bernard Stollman recounts his experiences with the artists and their productions, and the artists tell their stories. Files will continuously be compiled and set for download exclusively through the ESP-Disk website.
May through June of 2008, ESP Radio will observe the Arrival Day (birthday-May 22nd) of Sun Ra. These 2 months of programs will be filled with rare interview footage with Sun Ra, Bernard Stollman, and others. The program will focus on his ESP-Disk recordings, rare recordings found on his El Saturn label (not released by Evidence Music) and rare live concert performances. Other upcoming features will be posted in our ESP Radio bulletin on our web page at www.espdisk.com. We invite you to comment on ESP Radio by filling out the questionnaire found on our web page.
NOTE: Final Comments From Bernard About ESP Radio
Pod casting now makes it possible for you to hear the early recordings by the composer / performers of free improvisation who emerged in the 60s and 70s, and whose works and performances were documented on recordings by the infant record label ESP. Over the decades, these recordings became iconic, and are credited with influencing successive generations of composers. Michael Anderson is uniquely endowed with the skills, experience and sensitivity required to produce and narrate this series. This is my legacy to you, from a life I consider well spent. I hope that these sounds will inspire you, as you seek truth and beauty in the years ahead.

_____

So now I’m not sure whether I’ve missed the other parts of the Ayler tribute, or whether Mr. Stollman’s original plans have gone a tad awry. I’ll keep an eye out, since judging by this first instalment, this is a very well-produced feature and it’ll be interesting to know what Michael Anderson thinks of the late Impulse period. I also couldn’t find any way to download the thing - but that could just be me (my technical expert is away at the moment).

*

ESP April Releases

New York Eye And Ear Control is scheduled for re-release in April, according to the ESP site. The second volume of Don Cherry’s Live At Cafe Montmartre 1966 is also on the list and, if this corresponds to the Magnetic Records release (MRCD 112), it should contain the Suite For Albert Ayler, which I featured on this site in 2006.

***

My Name Is Albert Ayler

I mentioned the US screenings for March last month but the film’s website has more information about which will be attended by Kasper Collin, as well as links to the various venues - click the News section on the site. An additional date has been added for the US - the film will return to the Anthology Film Archives in New York from 18th to 22nd April.

The website also has a link to a review of the film in The Nation by Nick Stillman, entitled ‘An Ayler in My House’. It’s a nice piece and I have to thank David Mittleman for first alerting me to it.

***

Healing Force

There’s a clip of Healing Force performing Ayler’s ‘Love of Life at the Climate Theatre in San Francisco last month on youtube.

***

Hatology 617

I’ve now found the listing for Albert Ayler - Berlin, Stockholm 1966 (Hatology 617) on the HatHut site as an upcoming release. No more details as yet.

***

March 5 2008

News

ESP Radio

ESP have now put the other three parts of the Tribute to Albert Ayler on their site.

***

April 1 2008

News

ESP

Just finished listening to the 8 hour Albert Ayler tribute on ESP Radio - it’s a great introduction to the music of Ayler and contains some fascinating information about the early ESP recordings thanks to the interviews with Bernard Stollman. It does skirt a few issues at the end of Ayler's career (and includes the 'Airport Tape' for no apparent reason) but it includes Stollman's story of his last meeting with Albert and the 'gospel music tape'. I first heard about this from Remco Takken when he was working on the Calibre releases of the ESP catalogue and I added it at the end of the Unreleased page in the discography. I still can't decide whether this is a piece of myth-making on Mr. Stollman’s part - similar to Mary Maria's story of Albert sailing to the Statue of Liberty on his final journey - or whether it's true. But it did make me wonder why, considering the amount of research that went into the Holy Ghost box set and the rare recordings that were uncovered then, that nothing (apart from, maybe, the New Grass out-takes) seemed to come from what you would expect to be the most obvious source of unreleased material - Mary Maria herself. Anyway, pointless speculation on my part.

There's more from Bernard Stollman in a long article in 801 magazine - ‘Resurrection of a Jazzman’ by Jen Itzenson.

***

My Name Is Albert Ayler

Reviews of Kasper Collin’s film:

Detroit Metro Times
San Francisco Weekly
Boxoffice
Movies,com

***

Marc Ribot’s Spiritual Unity Quartet

I received an email from Margaret Davis Grimes which included a picture of the musicians’ passes for February’s Cite de la Musique festival in Paris. Margaret also added the following note:

“And by the way, there were huge banners just like it hanging over the streets and boulevards all over that section of Paris. I can't tell you how wonderful it was to see and feel Albert in all his glory reigning over Paris, France!”

passes

***

April 17 2008

News

Ayler film back in New York by public demand!

Just received this Press Release from Kasper Collin’s crew:

My Name Is Albert Ayler was a major success when it had its New York theatrical premiere run late last year. Now it's back for five days of encore screenings. Opens Friday April 18 at Anthology Film Archives. Screens through Tuesday April 22 at 7.00 & 9.00. Additional screenings on Saturday and Sunday at 5:00.”

albert_nyc_new2

***

May 1 2008

News

ESP Releases

ESP has re-released New York Eye And Ear Control and Don Cherry’s Live at Cafe Montmartre, 1966 Volume 2 which contains the “Suite for Albert Ayler”.

ESP1016-small-image ESP4043-small-image03

There’s a short article in The New Yorker online edition about Ayler and the new ESP releases.

***

My Name Is Albert Ayler

Kasper Collin’s film now seems to be heading down under with screenings booked at:

11th Revelation Perth International Film Festival
Perth, Australia. July 3 - 13.

40th Auckland International Film Festival
Auckland, New Zealand. July 11 - 27.

37th Wellington Film Festival
Wellington, New Zealand. July 17 - August 3.

More dates have also been added in the U.S.:

Jepson Center for the Arts, Savannah, Georgia. June 5th.
Belcourt Theatre, Nashville, Tennessee. tba
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio. July 18th.

***

June 1 2008

News

The Rare Music Curator

I received the following email from Steve Tintweiss:

“Found a music podcast series called The Rare Music Curator which puts together a variety of contemporary and historical audio programs featuring well known artists in live performances of little known or unreleased recordings monthly. Podcast #12 The American Avant Garde packs an hour of avant-garde jazz performances spanning the last 30 years of the 20th century into 7 selections. The web page sports a great photo of a smiling Albert Ayler, horn in hand. Plug in your headphones for maximum bliss. "Universal Message" was from the July 27, 1970 concert at the Maeght Foundation geodesic dome in St Paul de Vence in the South of France. That was our second concert there. It was also filmed in its entirety, along with interviews. It showed in Europe but never in the U.S. There were audio LPs and CDs released which contain this selection, and won many awards in France and Japan, but was not part of the Revenant Grammy nominated box set mentioned. The tenor sax playing is the pinnacle of melodic, intense virtuosity. This was one of Albert's tunes that I had never heard before, and never rehearsed with the band as a last minute call and an emergency passport got me and my bass on the plane and on the gig. Sound quality on all the tracks is good; the disclaimer clearly states that "This show is presented for historical and personal use only" while encouraging listeners to support the artists by buying their commercial releases. "Universal Message" is followed by an Anthony Braxton collaboration with the Art Ensemble of Chicago in 1984. The selections are all quite different. Sam Rivers leads a 1999 San Francisco performance melding acoustic instruments with electronics to complete the podcast. The purest free-form improvization is an amazing duet in London, also in 1999, of Cecil Taylor and Max Roach. This is all out kick-ass energy music at the highest level. Even knowing that these two icons had performed as a duo before, I was still astonished with just how free Max Roach could play his drum kit, with such abandon and conviction spurred on by the uncompromising Cecil Taylor. Give it a listen:

Rare Music Curator presents podcast #12 The American Avant Garde

There are social networking options available on the PodOmatic.com host site, but you do not have to sign up to listen to Rare Music Curator.

Wishing everyone a productive and fruitful summer 2008. Enjoy. Thanks for your support,
Steve Tintweiss
New York City May 29, 2008 ”

***

Holy Ghost bargains?

ESP have knocked 20% off the price of the Holy Ghost box set and are now selling it for $79.99. However, checking that price against what’s available elsewhere I came across what I presume is a mistake. On Amazon marketplace - both the US and UK sites - DVDLegacy have the box set listed as $8.99 (£4.69). I have dealt with DVDLegacy before and they are genuine, but on their own site the set is $72.98, so, as I said this is most likely to be a simple mistake. However, I thought I’d mention it in case someone wants to put on their legal hat and go into battle.

***

Jimmy Giuffre

Apologies for the lack of any Ayler connection but I couldn't let the death of Jimmy Giuffre pass without a brief comment. Someone once asked me whether there was any other musician I would consider doing a website about and I immediately replied, "Jimmy Giuffre". I never attempted it, the task was too daunting, but I always felt Giuffre never really got the attention that he deserved. Like Ayler, his music was a thing of joy. There are plenty of obituaries online, including John Fordham's in The Guardian and Ben Ratliff's in The New York Times, and youtube has several clips. For me, that opening sequence of Jazz on a Summer's Day is the epitome of cool.

***

July 1 2008

News

My Name Is Albert Ayler - Autumn 2008 release for DVD

According to the website, Kasper Collin’s documentary, My Name Is Albert Ayler, will be released on DVD in the autumn (or the fall, as the Americans have it - anyway, “the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, close bosom-friend of the maturing sun”).

The site also has a new blog with all the news about the film and a comment facility which I couldn’t get to work.

***

Ayler on NPR

Thanks to John Vohs for letting me know about a brief piece about Ayler broadcast on National Public Radio on June 7th, which includes contributions from Kasper Collin, Marc Ribot and Vinny Golia.

***

Fondation Maeght photos

Steve Tintweiss is looking for photos of the Fondation Maeght concerts from the summer of 1970. Not necessarily just pictures of the Ayler band, but snapshots of the audience, the other concerts (Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Terry Riley), anything taken around that time at the Fondation Maeght. These days of course everybody carries a camera in their phone (except me, since I now seem to be living in the 19th century, quoting Keats and unable to work out how to post comments on a blog) but not so forty years ago. However, you’d think that there’d be some amateur snappers out there who’ve got a loft full of old photographs from St. Paul de Vence in the summer of 1970. If any of them read this, please get in touch.

goldencircle

The Golden Circle

George Scala (who was a great help when I first began this site) let me know about this book, Den Gyllene Cirkeln: jazzen på 1960-talet, edited by Roger Bergner, which I’d not come across before. It’s a history of the famous Stockholm jazz club, the “Golden Circle”, published in 2002, and includes a dozen mentions of Albert Ayler and a couple of photos (the one featured on The Copenhagen Tapes CD and one of the poster for an Ayler gig in October, 1964). Unfortunately the book’s in Swedish but it does come with a CD featuring tracks by Dexter Gordon, Kenny Dorham, Bill Evans, George Russell, Ben Webster, Don Cherry and Lars Gullin.

goldencircleoct64
goldencircoct64txt

***

July 16 2008

News

Daniel Caux

I received an email this morning from Guy Kopelowicz informing me that Daniel Caux died last week in Paris. At the moment I have no further details on this and there are no obituaries online but I felt I should acknowledge Daniel Caux’s contribution to the legacy of Albert Ayler as soon as possible. Without Daniel Caux The Last Album would be just that and Albert Ayler would have left the world with a whimper, not the blessed bang of the Nuits de la Fondation Maeght. Daniel Caux was the driving force behind Ayler's last recorded concerts in France in 1970 and their subsequent release on the Shandar label. There's also the interview he did with Albert (included in the Holy Ghost box set) which as well as providing Kasper Collin with material for My Name is Albert Ayler, also featured in the documentary made at the Fondation Maeght. Without Daniel Caux, our perception of Albert Ayler would be very different indeed.

***

July 19 2008

News

Daniel Caux obituary

There’s an obituary for Daniel Caux in today’s edition of Le Monde.

***

August 1 2008

News

Daniel Caux

I emailed Steve Tintweiss with the news of M. Caux’s passing and received the following reply:

“I do remember Daniel, and how he was key to making our visit to Fondation Maeght and the town of St Paul de Vence such a memorable event for all of us. It would be great to get a good translation of his liner notes published in English. He was most gracious. A new music advocate, mover and shaker in France. My condolences to his wife Jacqueline, who also seemed so dedicated to the cause. A dynamic couple for sure. They made us feel like honored guests and family.”

A couple of appreciations of Daniel Caux are available at the fluctuat.net and tsugi sites, and his wikipedia entry has been updated.

***

“Free Music” ... Discorded Chaos?

This is the title of an article in The Call & Post from February, 1963 which begins:

“People are going to the moon. It’s time for music to change too,” is the introduction and explanation of “Free Music, as interpreted by Albert Ayler, recently returned from a musical tour of the Scandinavian countries, who brought with him a totally new departure in jazz music to the Cleveland area.”

The Call & Post is Cleveland’s major African American newspaper and this article provides an early glimpse of Ayler’s impact on his home town. As ever, thanks go to Richard Koloda for unearthing it. It’s now the earliest article about Ayler I have in the Archives and the link below should take you straight to it:

‘Free Music ... Discorded Chaos?’

callandpost02

Richard also caught the latest screening of Kasper Collin’s film at the Cleveland Museum of Art and sent this report:

“Thought you’d be interested in the reception of the film. It was better advertised than last time--a four inch blurb (with pictures) appeared in the Plain Dealer’s Friday magazine. Unfortunately only about 25 people showed up (it was 95 degrees outside which kept many in the comfort of air conditioning). The Art Museum is also newly renovated, and Euclid Avenue is torn up for about 105 blocks which means getting there is fighting an obstacle course. I believe I was the only repeat viewer there. This time though many of the Aylers’ childhood friends were there including two whom I have tried to contact. It got a warm reception from the audience.”

***

Holy Ghost re-released at knockdown price

Back in June I mentioned ESP knocking 20% off the price of the Holy Ghost box set and also the dubious information that DVDLegacy had it listed on Amazon marketplace for £4.69 (which turned out, as expected, to be a mistake - thanks Dave!) However, the set has now turned up on the Play site for £29.99 (though temporarily out of stock) and the HMV site for £26.99. HMV give the release date as 25th August. There’s no information about a re-release of the set on either ESP, which now handles distribution, or the original label, Revenant. On its original release the set was priced at between £70 and £90, so this is definitely a bargain for anyone who hasn’t taken the plunge yet. Hopefully by next month the situation will be a little clearer.

***

Ayler items on youtube

Speaking in Tongues (a documentary featuring Milford Graves and David Murray, dedicated to Albert Ayler) is now available (in several parts) on youtube. I remember seeing this on Channel Four (in the UK) years ago and being really frustrated since it was billed as a film about Ayler and I was expecting loads of clips of him playing - this, of course, was in the time of ignorance when I didn’t know how little of Ayler was captured on film. So, it’s good to have this opportunity to see it again and judge it on its own merits. Speaking in Tongues is the title that comes up at the beginning, but elsewhere the film is referred to as Hommage to Albert Ayler.

There’s also a short clip from the 2001 documentary Inside Out In The Open with John Tchicai talking about Ayler’s influence on Coltrane. The 60 minute film is now available on DVD, released by ESP.

***

September 1 2008

News

Appreciations of Ayler

Dave Solomon emailed recently wondering if there was anywhere on the site to add his own thoughts about Albert Ayler. Although the Ayler Remembered page was for people who knew Albert or saw him play, there was no section just for ‘regular’ people to share their own thoughts, impressions or ideas about the Ayler brothers and their music. I think I originally thought the message board would take care of that, but that’s never happened. So, now there’s a new page - Appreciations of Ayler - and Dave Solomon has launched it with gusto. Anyone else wishing to contribute their ’appreciations’ should send them in an email (or as an attachment if they’re dissertations).

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Holy Ghost

Following up on last month’s item about the Holy Ghost big box being available on regular sites at an apparently knockdown price. HMV have now upped it by 10 quid to £36.99 (and it’s currently out of stock, but due back in 10 days). Play still have it listed at £29.99, but again, it’s currently out of stock. Zavvi have it listed at £36 and Tesco seem to be the cheapest at £27.99. These are just the U.K. sites and I don’t know what the situation is elsewhere. Amazon.co.uk still have it listed as £51.98.

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My Name Is Albert Ayler

Still no news on the promised autumn release of the DVD but the following screenings are listed on the film’s website:

Follow The Sound
Antwerp, Belgium: September 6. (Plus the Roy Campbell Quartet plays Albert Ayler)

Calgary International Film Festival
Calgary, Canada: September 19 - 28.

51st Monterey Jazz Festival
Monterey, California, U.S.A.: September 21.

The film’s blogsite also has a new post under the intriguing title “Has Iggy Pop seen My Name Is Albert Ayler?”

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I wonder what happened to Dave Panton?

He’s alive and well and posting ‘videos’ on youtube. Back in the day when I was mucking about with ‘le free jazz’, Dave Panton was based in Birmingham with a record label (Nondo) while we were up the road in Stoke without a clue. So it was a nice surprise to come across the following recording from 1981 (featuring John Stevens) on youtube and the Ayler connection meant I could give it a plug here:

Fanfare for Albert by David Panton

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And finally... farewell to www.ayler.supanet.com

When this site started back in 2000, I was using some free webspace from Supanet. When I switched to ayler.org in March 2005 I left the old site up there since a lot of sites were linked to it (and it still outranks this site on google). But enough is enough and in a general spirit of tidying up I’ve now taken it down. So if anyone is still using the old supanet email address to contact me, please switch over to this one.

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October 1 2008

News

Bill Folwell Interview

Bill Folwell has very kindly sent me a copy of the ‘Jazz Profiles’ programme broadcast on 29th July 2007 on WKCR-FM which was devoted to his career in music. Bill Folwell was Albert Ayler’s bass player on the 1966 European Tour, at the 1967 Newport Jazz Festival, the various Greenwich Village sessions and that controversial ‘rock’ period of the late Impulse LPs. And that’s just his contribution to the Ayler legacy. He also played with Carla Bley and Perry Robinson and the cult rock bands: Ars Nova, The Insect Trust and The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.

The original programme ran for 5 hours and features an extensive interview with Bill Folwell conducted by Ben Young (arguably the world’s foremost expert on Albert Ayler). However, since a 5 hour radio interview may seem a bit daunting, with Mr. Folwell’s permission, I’ve cut it up into more manageable chunks. For the sake of reducing the download time and saving space I also decided to cut the introductory section (apologies to Ben Young) and begin with the first part of the interview.

The first two sections, which deal with Bill Folwell’s early years, his first incarnation as a trumpet player, the transition to bass and the beginning of his relationship with Ayler, are available below. I will add the final two parts to this page next month.

Jazz Profiles: Bill Folwell Part One
(Bill Folwell - Trumpet player. His early years, influences, education,
featuring rare recordings with Jimmy Heath and Carla Bley. 76 mins. 34.8 mb.)

Jazz Profiles: Bill Folwell Part Two
(Bill Folwell - Bass player. Army years, the UNI trio with Perry Robinson and Tom Price,
and the start of his association with Albert Ayler. 63 mins. 29 mb.)

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Shandar Sleevenotes

Following the news of the death of Daniel Caux, Steve Tintweiss suggested someone should translate M. Caux’s sleevenotes to the original release of Ayler’s Nuits de la Fondation Maeght. Richard Leigh kindly obliged and here’s the result:

Albert Ayler was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1936. In 1952, on alto saxophone, he joined the band of blues singer and harmonica-player Little Walter. A few years later he switched to tenor, and met Cecil Taylor, who had preceded him to Scandinavia, in 1962. In the following year he formed a trio with Gary Peacock on bass and Sunny Murray on drums. With this group, plus Don Cherry on trumpet, he toured Denmark, Sweden and Holland. In 1963 he played at Town Hall with his brother, trumpeter Don Ayler, altoist Charles Tyler, bassist Lewis Worrell and Sunny Murray. The arrival of Albert Ayler on the jazz scene has provoked great enthusiasm but also great rage and sarcasm. His first journey to Paris, in 1966, as the final act in a programme which aimed to trace the history of jazz, unleashed a scandal gave rise to a great deal of controversy. Such a reception had the effect of making his eventual return to this country unlikely for a long time to come, until the announcement of his participation in the Nuits de la Fondation Maeght in 1970. He came to St-Paul de Vence, with pianist Call Cobbs, bassist Steve Tintweiss, drummer Allen Blairman and singer Mary Maria, and made a huge impact. He was called back on stage for encores six times, eight times, ten times, and it was the first great triumph in his career. It might seem astonishing, that someone previously regarded as the champion of anti-jazz is now promoted to the rank of an innovator whose art is the most deeply rooted. The reason is that Ayler’s stance is precisely to wed the very foundations of Negro-American music (“swing”, the atmosphere of spirituals or blues, for example) to the strengths of this music, even the most vertiginous, the most “irrational”… Certainly at first hearing, the multiphonics, the huge vibrato, the growling, the wheezing and other effects can take the listener aback. Something else which can cause amazement is the contrast between the improvisation and the themes on which it is based.. These can be marches, fanfares or blatant repetition. This apparent naivete should not, however, mislead anyone, since Albert Ayler “vampirises” everything he plays in a treacherous derailing of the senses, thanks to the extremity of an expressiveness which masks subtle rhythmic and melodic displacements, while making them more effective. Contrary to popular belief, what is most striking about Ayler is that in spite of the great spontaneity which, according to all the evidence, characterises the arrangements of the pieces he creates, almost all of them appears as a perfectly articulated, coherent and definitive ”whole”. Albert Ayler finds himself in a musical universe which it is customary to call the “New Thing” just as it was natural for Charlie Parker to find himself categorised as be-bop. It seems to us that his contribution has to be acknowledged like an outpouring of indescribable lightning.. On this basis, no jazz improviser apart from Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker can be compared to him.

Daniel CAUX

These are the notes to Volume 1 of Nuits de la Fondation Maeght. I’ve been unable to find a copy of Volume 2, but I presume they are the same. Following Ayler’s death, Shandar released a double LP set with new sleevenotes (again by Daniel Caux) in both French and English. I’ve added these to the relevant section of the discography.

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Holy Ghost Price Crash

Amazon have now fallen into line and amazon.co.uk are selling Holy Ghost for £29.98.

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Essential Jazz Records

I have to thank Bob Davenport (who almost saw Albert Ayler at the L.S.E.) for letting me know about the Ayler entries in The Essential Jazz Records: Modernism to Postmodernism by Max Harrison, Eric Thacker and Stuart Nicholson (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2000, ISBN 0720118220). There are three Ayler records included in the book, Spiritual Unity, Vibrations (aka Ghosts) and The Village Concerts. The first two reviews are available on google books and I’ve transferred them to the site, but the third is incomplete.

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November 1 2008

News

Bill Folwell Interview

The last two parts of the ‘Jazz Profiles’ programme devoted to the career of Bill Folwell, broadcast on 29th July 2007 on WKCR-FM. These cover the European tour of 1966 (including the infamous L.S.E. gig), the Village concerts, and the late Impulse ‘rock’ albums. Along the way there’s Ars Nova, The Insect Trust, The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo and in a fascinating final section, Bill Folwell’s adventures in Hollywood.

Jazz Profiles: Bill Folwell Part Three
(The 1966 European Tour, the Village Concerts, Newport, Ars Nova, The Insect Trust
Don Ayler, the late Impulse period and Albert the singer. 47 mins. 21.6 mb.)

Jazz Profiles: Bill Folwell Part Four
(More of the late Impulse period, Henry Vestine, bagpipes, Trevor Koehler, Harpo Marx,
Spike Jones Jr., Billy Superball and The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. 59 mins. 27.2 mb.)

The first two parts of the interview are available below in last month’s section and I’d like to thank Mr. Folwell again for letting me add this interview to the site.

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Shandar Sleevenotes

It turns out I was mistaken in assuming that the sleevenotes for Volume 1 of the Shandar LP, Nuits de la Fondation Maeght, were repeated on Volume 2. Thanks to Guy Kopelowicz for correcting me and also taking the time and trouble to send the original French notes and his English translation:

“By the end of the year 1970, the musician who was thought of as being the strongest personality of the free jazz died in mysterious circumstances.

Albert Ayler had disappeared from his New York City home since November 6. His body was found in the East River three weeks later. His funeral was held discreetly on December 4 in his native Cleveland. Members of his family and several friends attended the funeral. He was 34.

After having scored his first major triumph at the Nights of the Maeght Foundation, he was scheduled to come back to France at the start of 1971 and was eagerly expected there.

LeRoi Jones said several years ago “Albert Ayler is a master of stupefying dimensions and it is frustrating to think that many people might take a long time to be aware of it”. As a matter of fact, there were few of us to acknowledge the importance of this exceptional innovator who was thought of as being a weird musician, one that would be listened to out of curiosity or as a scandalous impostor. However one can wonder if there has ever been a purer and more sincere artist in the jazz field than Albert Ayler. It is true that what he played was both very simple and also very subtly complex, a situation that puzzled listeners who had to revise their usual criteria.

The music of Albert Ayler was as distanced from the intellectual ghetto in which for a time free jazz was confined as from the entertaining without consequences it was later reduced to so as to lessen its impact while ignoring its most radical aspects. Simplicity does not mean simplism and there was no demagogy in the words of Albert Ayler when he spoke of a music from the people for the people. He was perfectly aware of its objectives: “I want to play the melodies I sang when I was a kid. Folk melodies that every one could understand. I would use these melodies as starting points and several simple melodies that move inside the same tune. From a simple melody to complex textures, then back to simplicity and the more complex sounds and more dense ones.”

People tended to see in the triumphant joy that is expressed in the music of Albert Ayler and in its ironic humour a will leaning on destruction through derision, an idea that is alien to us and one that would be at the very least too limitative. Albert Ayler stated on several occasions that what he was playing was essentially a love cry and that can be taken for granted. A universal love that is expressed with a frightening conviction and one that would attach in a single swoop the numerous contradictions that usually tear the human. Love meaning joy, supreme happiness but also happiness in danger. Out of this probably comes the ineffable emotion that is never absent from his music and which constitutes one of its specific elements.

The album we present gathers on one side the start and on the other one the last two numbers from the second concert given by Albert Ayler at the Maeght Foundation. A fervour-laden “Truth is marching in” reminds one of the New Orleans funerals and we know it was played by Ayler at the funeral of John Coltrane. A high level of expressive intensity was to be maintained during the concert. One notes the interventions of pianist Cal Cobbs who was once one of Billie Holiday’s accompanists and whose poetic playing matches happily Ayler’s. Taken at a very slow tempo “Music is the healing force of the Universe” which was the last tune played by Albert Ayler at Saint Paul de Vence seems to mark a will to retain the passing of time. Mary Maria sings with ‘soul’ while Albert Ayler accompanies her with countermelodies of dramatic lyricism that can only raise singular resonances today.

Daniel CAUX”

Obviously, Volume 2 of Nuits de la Fondation Maeght was released after Ayler’s death in November 1970, and there are close similarities between these sleevenotes and those on the Shandar double LP set. All the notes and their translations are available in the relevant section of the discography. Thanks again to Richard Leigh and Guy Kopelowicz for their translations.

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My Name Is Albert Ayler

The following screenings are listed on the film’s website:

Rokumentti Rock Film Festival
Joensuu, Finland: November 14 - 16, 2008.

Wexner Center for the Arts
Columbus, Ohio, USA: January 10, 2009.

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December 1 2008

News

Roy Campbell

Late news really, for which I apologise, but I never picked up on it at all and it was George Scala who let me know that Roy Campbell had been touring Europe in November performing ‘A Tribute to Albert Ayler’ with Joe McPhee, William Parker and Warren Smith. There’s more information on Roy Campbell’s site and there’s a fairly substantial clip on youtube.

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Additions to the site

When Dave Solomon (who can currently be seen drumming away on youtube) suggested I add anAppreciations of Ayler page to the site he also pointed out that I didn’t have an Ayler sessionography. So now there is one - added to the end of the Discography section.

And, before this page disappears at the end of the month into the bowels of the Archive section, I’ve moved the Bill Folwell interview to the Interviews page of the Archives and I’ve also added a Beaver Harris interview broadcast on WKCR-FM on 13th July, 1987, which can also be accessed here:

Beaver Harris Interview
(47 mins. 21.8 mb.)

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Albert Ayler on Facebook

Albert now has his own page on Facebook. Nothing to do with me, although whoever’s put it on there has nicked my biography again (always easy to spot since they leave in the totally irrelevant comment about Trooping the Colour). Anyway, according to the site, “Albert Ayler has no recent activity”.

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