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2010
July to December

BAN203

archives

News from 2010 - July to December

July 1 2010

News

First Annual Albert Ayler Festival - July 10th

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Rather than commemorate the 40th anniversary of Albert Ayler’s death, there are a couple of concerts in July, one in New York, one in London, celebrating the 74th anniversary of Albert’s birth. The First Annual Albert Ayler Festival takes place on Saturday July 10th on Roosevelt Island, New York, and is a free, outdoor festival running from 2 to 10 pm, featuring performances from Giuseppi Logan, Charles Gayle, Gunter Hampel, Marshall Allen and many more. The event has been part-organised by ESP-Disk and full details are available on the festival’s website.

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The Albert Ayler Life Celebration! - July 13th

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And on Tuesday, July 13th (Albert’s birthday) there’s a concert at the Vortex Club in London. The concert kicks off at 8.30 pm, tickets are £10 and you can book online on the Vortex site which describes the event thus:

“A very special evening honouring the 74th birthday of the legendary saxman whose influence pervades modern improvised music to this day.

Bassist Jair-Rohm Parker Wells will lead a sextet of some of the leading voices on the scene today. The legendary John Sinclair (spoken word) will provide a narrative backdrop to the spirited group improvisations of Tony Bianco (drums and cymbals), Shabaka Hutchings and Lol Coxhill (saxes), Ian Smith (trumpet) and Simone Weissenfels (piano).”

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Jeff Schwartz Site

Thanks to David Colosi for letting me know that Jeff Schwartz’s biography of Albert Ayler (which was the second website I ever went on - I think the first was yahoo to find it) has changed its address following the closure of GeoCities (rather ironically by yahoo). It’s now available at http://www.reocities.com:80/jeff_l_schwartz/ayler.html. Apologies if there are some dead links to Jeff’s site scattered around this one.

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News of the site

Cricket

Don’t worry, I’m not going to wax lyrical about the most boring game known to man - The Cricket was a magazine produced by Amiri Baraka back in the sixties, and one issue contained the slightly worrisome essay by Albert Ayler, ‘To Mr. Jones - I Had A Vision’. I transcribed that and put it on the site a while back, but it always bothered me that it was one of the things used by various commentators to indicate the slightly questionable state of Albert’s mental health towards the end of his life. I always felt it was just a product of its time. Back in the sixties we were all a bit daft and we all thought (and wrote) daft things to keep in with the current trends. So, when Pierre Crépon sent me a copy of The Cricket 4 containing Ayler’s essay, I thought it might be worthwhile putting the whole magazine on the site to give Albert’s vision of flying saucers and the bible and all the rest, a bit of context. The actual work of scanning the magazine had been done by Richard Koloda in Cleveland, and I’m grateful to him for allowing me to do this. As well as ‘To Mr. Jones - I Had A Vision’, this issue also includes a damning review of New Grass and in the Gossip section, an equally scathing review of a Don Ayler concert, which has also been quoted extensively (admittedly with more reason) as evidence of Don’s declining mental state at the time. So, for a trip back down memory lane when all was peace and love and we all wore flowers in our hair, play your Spanky & Our Gang records, for a trip back to weird and crazy backbiting times read

The Cricket.

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Did the F.B.I. kill Albert , or was it the ghosts?

Pierre Crépon also sent me some issues of Actuel magazine and pointed out a couple of Ayler-related items. The first, which is in the Articles section of the Archives, exemplifies that overtly political approach to Ayler which the French magazines of the time seemed to take. It was published, in response to the news of Albert’s death, in the January 1971 issue of Actuel under the title:

UNE PANTHÈRE NOIRE DE PLUS DESCENDUE PAR LE F.B.I.
(Another Black Panther shot down by the F.B.I.)

The other one is quite bizarre. As bizarre in fact as that French release of The First Recordings with the sleevenotes consisting entirely of quotes from H. P. Lovecraft. Maybe it’s coincidence, but I do wonder if, while the rest of us either took Albert’s tune titles at face value or dismissed them as hippy nonsense, the French saw a much darker side to his spiritual nomenclature. Click the thumbnails for the full effect and the back button to continue the terrifying tale.

From Actuel (No. 2, November, 1968) - Cartoon (A. Ayler) by J. Tallieu.

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The Wall Street Journal photoshoot?

Pierre also sent me a Byron Allen interview from a 1978 issue of Cadence which contained the following intriguing item:

“CAD: In the early 60s you were considered one of the new, young bright stars of the new music. What were your impressions of that period?
BA: I was never in it at all. As a matter of fact, we all went to a shooting - Albert Ayler’s. And all those people involved in that movement gathered in Central Park one day for the Wall Street Journal and the National Observer could take pictures of us.”

So, here’s the question. Has anybody out there access to the archives of The Wall Street Journal to check on this? The National Observer did run an article on the new music in June 1965 under the title ‘The Moody Men Who Play The New Music’, which was included as an insert in the initial copies of Bells. The article by Robert Ostermann is on this site and there are some small photos accompanying it but nothing suggesting a special photoshoot in Central Park. If anyone can shed any more light on this Pierre (and I) would be grateful to hear from you.

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And finally ...

Two last items courtesy of Pierre - both adverts. The first for the Fondation Maeght from Jazz Hot (June, 1970) just to make us all weep for past glories. And the second for Live in Greenwich Village (Actuel No. 3, Jan/Feb 1969) which is a great photo of Albert Ayler being hotly pursued by Bill Folwell.

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What’s New - January to June 2010

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August 1 2010

News

Sant’ Anna Arresi Jazz 2010

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The Sant’ Anna Arresi Jazz Festival, which this year is inspired by the music of Albert Ayler, takes place this month on Sardinia. The English language version of the festival’s website doesn’t seem to be working yet, but the original festival website has a programme of events in Italian (you can also download it here). This is a brief rundown:

August 23: ZU (Special guest Peter Brotzmann)
Stephen O’Malley, Massimo Pupillo, Bobby Previte Trio

August 24:
My Name Is Albert Ayler (film)
‘Songs of Albert Ayler’ directed by Charles Gayle
‘Bells of Sant’ Anna’ directed by Alan Silva

August 25:
Charles Gayle (solo piano)
‘Seeds of Djuke’ directed by On Ka’a Davis

August 26:
Bobby Few Trio
Archie Shepp Quartet

August 27:
Evan Parker,
Peter Brotzmann, Harrison Bankhead and Hamid Drake
34/5et

August 28:
Speaking in Tongues (film)
David Murray - Milford Graves Duo
’Suite Ayler’ - Dee Alexander Quartet

August 29:
‘Angel and Ghost: The Ayler Tapes’ - Paolo Botti (solo guitar)
New Music Observatory 2010: Lawrence D. ‘Butch’ Morris: ‘Conduction No. 192 - Possible Universe’

August 30:
Reggaeology
Appunti Per Un
Orestriade Africana (film)
‘We Insist! Freedom Now Suite’ directed by Ernest Dawkins

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I did have a look round for reviews of the First Annual Albert Ayler Festival which took place on Roosevelt Island in New York on July 10th, but all I could find was a drawing.

*

Moving into the 21st century, I was quite taken by a series of videos on youtube, although I think the connection to Albert is a bit tenuous. Basically it’s a bloke playing a saxophone while a woman reads a book and is in six parts. The book is Les Treize Morts d’Albert Ayler and the only information I could find about the ‘event’ was the brief description on youtube:

“Lettre aux morts de Michael Guinzburg, extrait du roman collectif « Les treize morts d'Albert Ayler», avec Garance Clavel & Akosh Szelevényi, dans le cadre des « lectures de roman noir en musique », le 4 juillet 2010, au Théâtre de verdure, jardin du musée du quai Branly, Paris.”

I have no idea why (maybe because everything sounds better in French, maybe it’s the mirror in the background, maybe it’s the butterfly, or maybe I’m just hankering after the ‘bee-loud glade’) but I did find it quite mesmerising. Here’s the first part.

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News of the site

Last month, thanks to Pierre Crépon, I put a lot things on the site. This month, there’s just one. Again it comes courtesy of Pierre, but I also have to thank Pedro Mendes from Brazil for providing the original scans. It’s an article from Cadence magazine from April 1976 in two parts. The first is a brief biography of Albert written by fellow Clevelander, Jon Goldman (who was responsible for the La Cave recordings on Holy Ghost) which gives a different slant to the oft-told tale. The second part is an overview by Martin Davidson of the Ayler records which were available in 1976. As usual, I disagreed with a lot of his views, but he does rate Don Ayler very highly, so that’s good. It’s in the Articles section of the Archive and can be accessed here:

Albert Ayler Life and Recordings
A Dual Retrospect by Jon Goldman and Martin Davidson

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And, although this should be up above in the News section, it is a bit early (Richard Koloda just sent me an email), and I thought I’d just mention it in relation to the Jon Goldman article. Mark Ribot’s Spiritual Unity group is playing at the Cleveland Museum of Art on Friday, 18th March, 2011. So, it may take a little time, but eventually the prophet does get recognized in his own land - any chance of a statue?

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And finally, just in case you read right down to the bottom of this page and think of doing a Ronald Reagan impression, I’ve had to split this year in two. So this year’s news from January to June is now in the Archive.

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September 1 2010

Hold the Front Page!

Or, to be more accurate, can you come back a bit later? I always update the site on the first of the month and I didn’t want to miss this one, but I do have something really rather special on the way - some previously unpublished photographs of the Spirits Rejoice session. Guy Kopelowicz was at New York’s Judson Hall in September 1965 and wrote a series of articles on the new jazz for the French magazine, Jazz Hot, and he also took some photographs. Some of the photos have been published elsewhere, but Guy recently came across the negatives (which he thought he’d lost forever) and there are fifteen in total, some of which will be published on this site for the first time. So, many thanks to Guy for letting me do this, and as soon as I get them (hopefully in the next few days) I’ll put them in the Archives and do another quick update of this page.

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Festivals

Still can’t find any reviews of the First Annual Albert Ayler Festival which took place on Roosevelt Island, New York in July but Roy Morris passed on an email from Joe Rigby, who played at the festival and had the following to say:

“The fest. went well. I played with Andrew Lamb and Daniel Carter in a trio saxophone thing for about 15 minutes, that was good.( I played sopranino). Later in my solo slot, I played quotes of "Ghosts" on Baritone, and played "Body & Soul" on tenor. The people seemed to enjoy it. It was cloudy and overcast all day.... when my solo slot came it got sunny.... go figure!!!”

Since the Sant’ Anna Arresi Ayler-themed festival only ended a couple of days ago I suppose it’s too early to expect to find reviews, photos, videos, etc. - although I thought these days everyone was supposed to be carrying cameras in their phones and posting stuff immediately on youtube and the like (can’t think the entire audience was composed of miserable buggers like me).

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My Name Is Albert Ayler

Kasper Collin’s film is due to appear at the 14th Miami Jazz Film Festival which runs from September 30th to October 4th. There’s also a February 8th date for next year at the California State University listed on the film’s website - but still no news of a DVD release. I sent an email the other day asking if there was any sign of the DVD but received no reply. Does anybody know what’s going on?

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Henry Grimes

Finally, Henry Grimes continues to amaze the world, and in September will be appearing here:

Friday through Sunday, Sept. 3rd-5th, music from 9:3O p.m: Henry Grimes, Edward "Kidd" Jordan, and many master Chicago musicians, including Tatsu Aoki (Fri.), Harrison Bankhead (Sat. & Sun.), Avreeayl Ra (Sat.), Isaiah Spencer (Sun.), Chad Taylor (Fri.), Mars Williams   (Sat.), Francis Wong (Fri.), and more surprise guests, in Chicago Jazz Festival after-sets at the great Fred Anderson’s Velvet Lounge, 67 East Cermak Rd., Chicago, music from 9:3O p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 8th, 1O-11 p.m: Henry Grimes solo radio broadcast with Lazaro Vega over WBLV-FM, 9O.3 / WBLU-FM, 89.9, Blue Lake Public Radio, Twin Lake, Michigan.

Friday, Sept. 1Oth, 11:3O p.m: Henry Grimes w/ Jane Bunnett & Andrew Cyrille, Guelph Jazz Festival at St. George's Anglican Church, 99 Woolwich St., Guelph, Ontario N1H 3V1, Canada.

Sunday, Sept. 12th, 1O:3O a.m!: Marc Ribot Trio w/ Henry Grimes & Chad Taylor, Guelph Jazz Festival, at Guelph Youth Music Center, 75 Cardigan St., Guelph, Ontario N1H 3G7, Canada.

Monday, Sept. 13th, 8 p.m: Henry Grimes w/ Jane Bunnett & Andrew Cyrille at Gallery 345, 345 Sorauren Ave., Toronto, Ontario M6R 2G5, Canada.

Tuesday, Sept. 14th, 12:3O p.m: Henry Grimes master class at Humber College, 3199 Lake Shore Blvd. West, Toronto, Ontario M8V 1K8, Canada.

Wednesday, Sept. 15th, early evening: Henry Grimes visit to the Colored Musicians Club, 145 Broadway, Buffalo, NY 142O3.,A historic club where Albert and Gene Ammons, William "Count" Basie, Art Blakey, Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, James Moody, Hezekiah "Stuff" Smith, Sonny Stitt, and many more have played in the past while on the road.

Thursday, Sept. 16th, 1O a.m(?): Henry Grimes master class, Buffalo Academy for Visual & Performing Arts, 45O Masten Ave, Buffalo, NY 142O9.

Thursday, Sept. 16th, 8 p.m: Henry Grimes (solo bass, solo violin, poetry) in the church sanctuary at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Asbury Hall, 341 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY 142O2.

Friday, Sept. 24th, 7 p.m: Henry Grimes and Marilyn Crispell, Rubin Museum of Art, 15O West 17th St., New York City., "Harlem in the Himalayas" series.

And if you can’t make any of those:

Tuesday, Sept. 21st: Official release date of Henry Grimes and Rashied Ali's CD "Spirits Aloft," recorded in concert at Rutgers / Camden in Feb., 'O9, on Porter Records (PR-4O49),

And if you can’t make any of those:

Tuesday, Sept. 21st: Official release date of Henry Grimes and Rashied Ali's CD "Spirits Aloft," recorded in concert at Rutgers / Camden in Feb., 'O9, on Porter Records (PR-4O49),

PR4049_GrimesAli_SpiritsAloft100

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September 6 2010

Spirits Rejoice Photographs

As promised, the 15 photos which Guy Kopelowicz took at New York’s Judson Hall on the 23rd September, 1965 during the recording session for the Spirits Rejoice album are now on the site in the Photo section of the Archives:

The Spirits Rejoice Session - photographs by Guy Kopelowicz

Many thanks again to Guy.

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Albert Ayler, Judson Hall, New York 23/9/65 © Guy Kopelowicz

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October 1 2010

Sant’ Anna Arresi Jazz 2010

Several videos from the Sant’ Anna Arresi Jazz Festival, which took place at the end of August and which this year was dedicated to Albert Ayler, are now available on youtube. This one is a compilation of highlights:

 

Other performances from the festival available on youtube are those by Zu with Peter Brötzmann, Archie Shepp, Hamid Drake’s Reggaeology and Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris’ Conduction No 192 Possible Universe. And then there was this, a performance of ‘Our Prayer’ and ‘Zion Hill’ on the banjo by Paolo Botti, not from the Sant’ Anna Arresi Festival (although he was on the bill) but from the Ha-um jazz festival in Milan, from May this year.

 

And if you like that, there’s also one of him playing Island Harvest and New Generation on the dobro.

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50 great moments in jazz: The shortlived cry of Albert Ayler

Thanks to Richard Rees Jones for letting me know about this article on The Guardian’s website, written by the paper’s jazz expert John Fordham. There are some interesting comments attached, including one reference to ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ which took me back to the good old days.

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Esperanto, anyone?

Not really connected to Albert Ayler - except perhaps numerically - but this may be of interest to record collectors. Rchard Koloda emailed to say that a friend of his had unearthed a copy of ESP-1001 - the “Let's Sing in Esperanto” LP which was the first release on the label. Details on the ESP site and keep an eye on ebay if you’ve got a lot of money.

1001large

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November 1 2010

London Jazz Festival 2010

The London Jazz Festival runs from Friday 12th to Sunday 21st of November at various venues around the city. A complete rundown of all the events is available at the Festival’s website, but there is one Ayler-specific event which I thought I’d mention here.

Alex Bonney’s Tribute to Albert Ayler

Thursday, 18th November, 8.30pm at Charlie Wrights.

“Loop Collective trumpeter Bonney’s celebration of the ecstatic and devotional music of the influential American free jazz pioneer. Featuring some of the UK's finest improvising musicians, the band debuts at Charlie Wrights following a spirited performance to a full house at this year's Loop festival at the Vortex.
'Wonderfully rousing and rumbustious' - Chris Parker/Vortex Jazz.

Alex Bonney - trumpet, Paul Dunmall - sax, James Allsopp - sax, Dylan Bates- violin, Dave Kane - bass, Ollie Brice - bass, Mark Sanders - drums”

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Roosevelt Island

Finally, some pictures from the First Annual Albert Ayler Festival held in New York in July. They’re on the Caroline, No site and here’s one I nicked.

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More Photos from France

And now for some more photos of the man himself.

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The photo above, a few more from the 1966 Paris concert, and a lot more from the Fondation Maeght concerts can be seen at the website of the photographer, Horace. Click the Musique button, enter Ayler in the Recherche box and this will bring up three pages of Ayler photos. Not all are available to view and they’re all watermarked, but it’s worth clicking through them, especially for the Fondation Maeght pictures - several of Mary Maria on soprano and a couple of nice shots of Steve Tintweiss and Allen Blairman. The photos are available for purchase.

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December 1 2010

News

Albert Ayler Tribute Concert in Paris

On December 2nd (tomorrow) there’s a tribute concert for Albert Ayler at 'Le Fondation Cartier' in Paris. According to the Fondation Cartier’s website:

“Pour Albert Ayler”

Hypertrophic vibrato, incandescent lyricism, Dionysian improvisations, a blaring primal scream all characterized the music of Albert Ayler. Found dead in New York’s East River in 1970, he was a dominant force in the free jazz movement of the 1960s. Assembling musicians and writers, this special event celebrates Ayler’s memory and art.

An evening presented by the bassist Joëlle Léandre and the writer and journalist Franck Médioni.

With Jean–Jacques Avenel, Zéno Bianu, Yves Buin, Jacqueline Caux, Jean-Luc Cappozzo, Steve Dalachinsky, Simon Goubert, Raphaël Imbert, Sylvain Kassap, Joëlle Léandre, Urs Leimgruber, Didier Levallet, Ramon Lopez, Bernard Lubat, Joe McPhee, Evan Parker, Michel Portal, Barre Phillips, Steve Potts, Lucia Recio, Jacques Réda, Christian Rollet, Archie Shepp, Alan Silva, John Tchicai, Assif Tsahar, Elsa Wolliaston.

There’s a bit more information on the Paris Loves Jazz blog, including a video of Joëlle Léandre. Thanks go to Guy Kopelowicz for letting me know about what looks to be an amazing event.

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A Very Ayler Christmas

And here’s another one. Earlier this year I waxed lyrical about Bernard Stepien’s attempts to fuse Albert Ayler with traditional Christmas music. I like Albert Ayler and I like Christmas carols, so for me this was match made in Canada. This year’s concert takes place at the Mercury Lounge in Ottawa on December 14th. But for those who can’t make it, dunner werrit, there’s a CD due for release on December 10th.

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Bernard emailed the following explanation:

This year, our Albert Ayler - Christmas Carols concert is the result of some wide encouragements from fellow musicians, club owners, Jazz critics and politicians alike. We even got a city of Ottawa arts grant to do our first CD. After two surprisingly successful concerts in 2006 and 2009 where we explored the concept of mixing two seemingly opposite musical styles we finally took an even closer look to these two bodies of music and found out that they are very much the same. In previous year’s concerts, we merely played the tunes against each other leaving to the audience the exercise to find out what they had in common. This year's concert and CD has been prepared quasi as alchemy. Every note of the Carols was carefully inspected before melting it with the notes of Albert Ayler's compositions. Thus, this year, we can easily talk about a Christmas Fusion. The plot is very simple: ensure that the listener can no longer determine what belongs to the Carol from what belongs to Albert Ayler’s composition. The long term goal of course is to have every Canadian singing Ayler tunes by the Christmas tree for ever...

As usual, singing along is welcome and who knows since strangely enough, this year, our prime minister didn't perform in public as he did last year and a federal election well overdue, we are fully convinced that he will show up at our concert and do some caroling with us. We will find some space on our CD's liner notes in case of emergency...

Merry Christmas - Joyeux Noël

To give you an idea of what to expect on the CD, there’s an mp3 of Spirits vs. Angels from the Realms of Glory, on Bernard’s page about last year’s concert. And when the CD is released and I’ve got all the details, I’ll do another update here.

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Milford Graves and David Murray in Sardinia

Bill Schmidt let me know about this - the radio broadcast of the Ayler tribute concert which Milford Graves and David Murray performed at this year’s Sant’ Anna Arresi Jazz Festival on August 28th can be downloaded from the Big O audio archive. There’s even a cover provided should you wish to transfer it to CD. Right, I’m off before the rozzers get me.

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December 21 2010

A Very Ayler Christmas - CD

This is a bit later than planned, but blame the snow (everybody else is). Bernard Stepien’s CD, A Very Ayler Christmas is now available by mail order from Bernard’s site, which also includes a sample of ‘Joy to the World - Bells’. Here’s the full track list:

1. Spirits - Angels from the realm of glory (8:40)
2. Joy to the World - Bells
(8:05)
3. Vibrations - Good King Wenceslas (10:07)
4. Zion Hill - First Noël (3:57)
5. Oh Tannenbaum - Ghosts (8:02)
6. Deck the Halls - Omega is the Alpha (7:19)
7. Oh Come all ye Faithful – Spiritual rebirth (3:25)
8. Silent night - Our Prayer (8:48)
9. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – Infinite spirits (2:03)

Bernard wrote to say that they are a bit behind on the marketing side for the CD, which is why it’s only available from his site at the moment. He also said that the concert on December 14th at the Mercury Lounge in Ottawa went “quite well despite the usual snow storm (minor storm this year) and the fact that our vocalist got sick and couldn’t sing. But no problem, that made us stretch the Ayler thing a little bit more on the carols themselves and it turned out well.”

For anyone still not convinced by that mingling of ‘Joy to the World’ and ‘Bells’ (then bah humbug to you too, sir) there’s some more stuff online which may be of interest:

A preview of the concert: Holy Duality
An interview with Bernard Stepien in the Ottawa Citizen
Photos of the concert by Enilffo Raeppa.
And a sign that Bernard Stepien’s original concept is beginning to spread: Hip Holiday Music III: Swinging Drummer, Boy!

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Henry’s Happy Holidays 2010

And if we do manage to make it through Christmas (it’s very Dickensian over here in Britain at the moment - what with all the snow, which we’re not used to, so all the transport systems close down and there’s no food in the shops and all the presents you ordered on this new fangled internet thingy won’t be delivered on time - more Oliver Twist than A Christmas Carol) we’ve got the New Year to look forward to. Which is never very exciting over here, but, according to the following message from Margaret Davis Grimes, promises to be really special in New York:

‘Love, music, joy!
Should you find yourself in NYC on New Year's Eve, Henry’s playing at the Stone in Manhattan, northwest corner of Ave. C and 2nd St.
“Bells at Midnight”
MARC RIBOT's Spiritual Unity, w/ MARC RIBOT (guitars), ROY CAMPBELL, JR. (trumpets), HENRY GRIMES (bass, violin), and CHAD TAYLOR (drums), + guest JOHN ZORN (alto saxophone), playing a free ritual leading to a midnight rendition of Albert Ayler’s masterpiece “Bells”.
Friday, 12/31/1O, 11 pm, $4O admission for the set includes traditional New Year’s Eve champagne toast at midnight.’

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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