Something Different!!!!!

My Name Is Albert Ayler


Swing Low Sweet Spiritual


Spiritual Unity

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The Hilversum Session


Spirits Rejoice

Sonny’s Time Now

La Cave Live

At Slug’s Saloon

Live In Europe 1964-66

Stockholm, Berlin 1966

Lorrach/Paris 1966

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Music Is The Healing Force Of The Universe

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Nuits De La Fondation Maeght


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The Inconsistency of
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News from 2011 - June to September

June 1 2011

The news from January to May this year has now been shifted to the archives and can be found by clicking below:

What’s New January to May 2011


Frank Kofsky Archives

I must thank Pierre Crépon for putting me onto this. He sent me a link to this story, from a few years ago, about the archives of Frank Kofsky being donated to the University of California, Santa Cruz. He also sent a link to some previously unpublished photographs of Albert Ayler from the archive. However the description which accompanies several of the photos struck me as a bit odd. There are two bassists, one is tentatively identified as the cellist, Joel Freedman, the other as Henry Grimes, and there’s no indication of when and where the photos were taken. Joel Freedman was obviously Bill Folwell, and I didn’t think the other bassist was Henry Grimes, so I emailed Mr. Folwell and asked him if he could shed some light on the matter. He reckoned the concert took place in Cleveland - he remembered flying in for a Saturday concert at a big hall, having been unable to make the band’s gig on the Friday. So, consulting the bible which is the book in the Holy Ghost box, I found that the Ayler band played at Kelly Hall, Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio on Friday February 3rd 1967 with Albert, Don, Mutawaf Shaheed on bass and Beaver Harris on drums. The next day, Saturday February 4th, they played a concert at the WHK Auditorium in Cleveland and were joined by Bill Folwell and, possibly, Call Cobbs. I emailed Richard Koloda for his thoughts and he confirmed it with Mutawaf Shaheed - he is the second bassist, not Henry Grimes.


Old Italian Magazines

A few years ago, when I was using some free webspace for this site and so was limited in what I could upload, Filippo Borromeo sent me photocopies of the two Italian magazines published by Fratelli Fabbri Editori, one in 1969 which was accompanied by an EP taken from Love Cry, and one from 1987 which had a casstte version of the LP, Ghosts, attached. The thought of transcribing the two booklets was too daunting and I hadn’t got the space to just scan the pages and put them on the site, so I put them in a drawer and felt guilty - it’s the Catholic way. Then the other week I got an email from Flurin Casura with photos of the Love Cry EP and I realised I now had the space to put the booklets on the site. So, thanks to Flurin Casura, and very belated thanks to Filippo Borromeo. Click the cover pictures below to read the booklets, although it must be said, you will need to know Italian (a Latin O-level doesn’t help at all).

booklet103 Booklet203

Images of Albert

This is a new section of the site devoted to paintings, drawings, ‘artworks’, etc., (in fact anything that isn’t a photograph) of Albert Ayler. I have to admit, in the past, I’ve tended to ignore this area. I prefer my images of jazzmen to be black and white photos with maybe a trace of cigarette smoke hovering in the background. But, when Yair Dagan sent me a load of artistic representations of Albert and suggested I add them to the site, I thought I should cast my prejudices aside and do just that - especially since he’d done all the work.

Images of Albert


Bloody Hippies

Yair also sent me a link to the online archive of International Times and details of several items related to Albert Ayler. A transcription of Albert’s own contribution to the paper from March 1967 has been on this site for a while, but I thought I should also include a scan of the page, which includes an article about Marion Brown.

International Times No. 10, March 13-26, 1967 - pages 8 and 9.

There’s also a Ted Joans article about Ayler from December 1966, a review of the L.S.E. concert, and this call to arms from January, 1967 (peace and love, man).


Maybe I should open a shop

I’m not sure whether this is an indication of Ayler’s popularity in the world (probably all due to the item above), or whether it’s an indication of how desperate the merchant classes have become in their attempts to wrest the last few coins from our pockets. Yair found the first two, an Albert Ayler fridge magnet and a natty garment for the younger Ayler fan:


Albert Ayler’s Free Sax Magnet

Image of jazz saxophone player Albert Ayler
3 inch refrigerator magnet

Albert Ayler was a freaky jazz sax player back in the 1960s. Celebrate his free jazz saxophone with this magnet.

Price: $ 2.00”


And I found this on ebay:

Albert Ayler Jazz Saxophone, ID Cigarette Case Wallet


June 14 2011

The Albert Ayler Project

Roger Skerman has emailed to say:

The Albert Ayler Project have come out of hibernation and are playing at The Spring Garden Tavern, Hotwell Road, Bristol, BS8 4RP on Wednesday June 22nd at 8.30pm. This time it is a seven piece group playing variations on the music of Albert and Donald Ayler.With Tenor and Alto saxophones, Trumpet, Guitar, Double Bass, Drums and Vocal.”


Ayler Timestretch

And since this just came in from Bill Schmidt I thought I might as well add the link straightaway. Bill reckons “it just may be the most absurd thing I've heard relating (such as it does) to Albert!”


July 1 2011

The Last Album released

Since this site went online over ten years ago there have been new Ayler CDs released, old albums have been repackaged, reissued and have since disappeared from the shops, but two of Ayler’s original LPs have stubbornly remained unavailable - coincidentally, The First Recordings and The Last Album. Both had limited reissues on CD and I listed the details in the Discography, but I have never come across them since June 2000, and in 2006 two tracks from The Last Album (‘Water Music’ and ‘Untitled Duet’) were included in the compilation, Albert Ayler: The Impulse Story. Now The Last Album has been released in its entirety (that’s the good news) twinned with Love Cry (that’s the bad).


Going by the track list, Love Cry is the version reissued by Impulse with the extra versions of ‘Love Cry’, ‘Zion Hill’ and ‘Universal Indians’, and The Last Album just contains the original seven tracks. I don’t like to quibble (well, I do, but ...), and I suppose, given the ‘’two for one idea behind these reissues, we should just be grateful that The Last Album is back in the shops, but considering the great job Impulse did with Live In Greenwich Village: The Complete Impulse Recordings and Love Cry I just think it would have been nice if they’d repackaged the last three albums together. Still, if you don’t have a copy of Love Cry (which is one of my favourite Ayler albums and, actually, the first one I bought) then this is a bargain, but if you just want The Last Album (which, as you may know, is one of my least favourite Ayler albums), then I suppose it all depends on how strong your money is.


Ghosts available to download

Looking through the shops for Love Cry/The Last Album I came across Ghosts (aka Vibrations) as a download-only release.


Now I’m not one of those people who reckon things started to go downhill after 78s replaced wax cylinders, but I have to admit I’ve never really embraced the idea of downloads. I still hanker for the old Impulse gatefold sleeves and the thick cardboard of Blue Note, but I also like CDs. But downloads ... for one thing, do I list them in the discography? This one I have since Ghosts has been unavailable on CD for a while now and apart from tracking down old copies, this is the only way to get the music. But, in my opinion, this is one of the classic jazz albums and should always be in the jazz sections of record shops alongside Kind of Blue and A Love Supreme.


Ghosts on the piano

The good thing about downloads of course is that you can sometimes get them, quite legitimately, for free. Ghosts by Matt Whiteman, two long piano solos based on Ayler’s theme, is a case in point. The ‘album’ is available for free download. And more thought seems to have gone into the artwork which accompanies it than is the case with the one above.


Additions to the site

Yair Dagan found the Matt Whiteman download (as well as giving me the heads-up about the release of The Last Album) and he also sent a few more example of Ayler art, which I’ve placed here. One of the artists is Raphael McAden, who mentions meeting Ayler and gives his impressions of the man in this audio interview.

Yair also sent me scans of the CD booklet from the German ZYX-Music release of New York Eye And Ear Control, which contains some interesting press cuttings about Ayler, and made me think that, now space is not a problem, I should add some larger images of LP covers, CD booklets etc., to the site. I had hoped to do a few of these, but ran out of time, so I’ve only done the New York Eye And Ear Control Covers page (it took me ages to work out what to call the new pages since they will include LP covers, sleevenotes and CD booklets, but in the end I settled on ‘Covers’) but I will get round to doing some more before next month.


Plug for Dikko

Just received an email from an old friend of this site, Dikko Faust, with details of a couple of gigs for his band, Maynard & the Musties (“some call it countrypolitan; me on trombone”):
Friday July 8 at 10pm, Kenny's Castaway, 157 Bleecker St, NYC.
Saturday, July 9 at 3pm, the middle of the day, at the Brooklyn County Fair Summerfest...there will be 17 country bands at the Urban Meadow in Redhook Brooklyn, corner of President and Van Brunt by the water.


And Finally ..

Thanks to George Scala who reminded me that on July 13th this year Albert Ayler would have been 75.


August 1 2011

Albert Ayler Tribute Concert in Paris - the video

On 2nd December 2010 the Fondation Cartier in Paris hosted a tribute to Albert Ayler, presented by the bassist Joëlle Léandre and the writer and journalist Franck Médioni. The concert is now available online in 18 parts at Dailymotion.
Part 1: Introduction by Joëlle Léandre and Franck Médioni, featuring an appearance by Jacqueline Caux (widow of Daniel Caux, without whom there would be no Nuits de la Fondation Maeght.)
Part 2: Raphaël Imbert, Urs Leimgruber, Joe McPhee, Evan Parker, John Tchicai
Part 3: Jean-Luc Cappozzo, Sylvain Kassap, Christian Rollet
Part 4: Archie Shepp (solo)
Part 5: Steve Dalachinksy (poet)
Part 6: Michel Portal
Part 7:
Part 8: Zéno Bianu (poet)
Part 9: Joëlle Léandre, Urs Leimgruber,John Tchicai
Part 10: Evan Parker (solo)
Part 11: Jean-Luc Cappozzo, Joe McPhee
Part 12: Ramon Lopez (solo)
Part 13: Simon Goubert, Raphaël Imbert, Sylvain Kassap, Didier Levallet
Part 14: Lucia Recio, Joëlle Léandre, Urs Leimgruber
Part 15: Joe McPhee (solo)
Part 16: Yves Buin (writer), Michel Portal, Sylvain Kassap
Part 17: Joëlle Léandre (solo)


hommage a Albert Ayler 18/18 final by Fragments20-21

Looking around for the missing Part 7, I came across a couple of other Ayler-related items. The first features the poet Marc-Édouard Nabe reading from his book La Marseillaise accomapnied by Charles Tyler:


Nabe Tyler 1990 by GASI800

The second, on youtube, features a man happy with his purchase of the Holy Ghost box.


Interviews, Reviews, etc. (not all in French)

Yair Dagan, as well as alerting me to the videos of the Paris concert above, also sent me several interesting links:

An interview with Archie Shepp about Albert Ayler (in French).

A review of Spiritual Unity by Stuart Broomer which leads into an interesting piece about ‘jazz-folk fusion’ (no mention of Jimmy Giuffre though - shame).

Saxophone Improvisations For Island Life, Part 1 - the work of the artist, David Colosi, inspired in part by Albert Ayler.

And a new Ayler tribute CD by Jeff Lederer.


There are reviews of the CD (which contains two tracks directly related to Ayler, Albert’s Sun and Annette Peacock’s Albert’s Love Theme) at All About Jazz and the Ottawa Citizen, and the Jazzheads Records site has brief samples.

The Ottawa Citizen review also contains a link to another piece about Ayler (with a few errors) on The New Republic site.


New Ayler Releases (not really)

Yair also discovered an Ayler track - Wizard, presumably from Prophecy - on the 2 disc compilation, Dirty Water 2: More Birth of Punk Attitude which contains some great tracks, including one by the estimable John Otway.


And, just to keep the Discography up to date - Guy Kopelowicz let me know about a new release of Nuits de la Fondation Maeght on the Italian B13 label, in limited editions, Volume 1 on white vinyl, Volume 2 on grey. More information available here - although one’s initial reaction is “What’s the point?”

B144LP02 B145LP02

Ken Vandermark on the radio

Richard Koloda emailed to say that WCSB in Cleveland are presenting the Daisy Vandermark Duo (that’s Tim Daisy and Ken Vandermark) on August 4th at Now That’s Class, and it should be broadcast online, so if you can sort out the time differences, check it out.


A few more covers

The mention of Prophecy above reminded me that I’ve added a few more LP covers and CD booklets to the site, including the fairly rare German version of Prophecy with the extra tracks (eventually included in the Holy Ghost box), Albert Smiles With Sunny. I’ve also added LP covers of The First Recordings, My Name Is Albert Ayler and Witches & Devils.


September 1 2011

Alex Bonney

There’s an Ayler tribute album by trumpeter Alex Bonney, available to download for free from the Loop Collective (you just have to sign up for a newsletter). Definitely worth it for the version of ‘Change Has Come’ alone. Details of the album are as follows:

Alex Bonney
A Tribute To Albert Ayler

‘Holy Family’ (9:51)
‘The Truth Is Marching In’ (6:13)
‘Ghosts (First Variation)’ (9:00)
‘Like Spirits’ (1:40)
‘Spirits Rejoice’ (5:06)
‘A Change Has Come / Our Prayer’ (8:46)
‘Ghosts (Second Variation)’ (2:57)

Alex Bonney (t), Robin Fincker (ts) Johnny Brierley (b), Jeff Williams (d)
Recorded: Summer 2007, London. Released: 19 July 2007


And on Alex Bonney’s site there’s the entire performance of the Albert Ayler Tribute Septet from Loopfest 2010, featuring Alex Bonney (t), Paul Dunmall/Robin Fincker (saxes), Johnny Brierley/Dave Kane (b), Dylan Bates (vln), Mark Sanders (d), playing ‘Spirits Rejoice’, ‘Change Has Come’, ‘Our Prayer’, ‘Ghosts’, ‘Holy Family’ and ‘Truth is Marching In’.


Weasel Walter

Talking of Ayler tributes, Yair Dagan (who, yet again has contributed greatly to this month’s update) came across an interview with Weasel Walter on Rokko’s Adventures which included his thoughts on the 2007 Healing Force CD, The Songs of Albert Ayler:

“Michael Masen: Is it important to you to create a connection between your music and the influences that stay behind it? You made this Albert Ayler tribute record, or on the record before the last one there was a cover of a composition by Olivier Messiaen. Then I found on the internet a recording were you play drums to Cecil Taylor piano pieces….

Weasel Walter: Well, everyone now seems very obsessed with who are your five or ten influences as if it was some kind of chemical equation what your music is. They are completely unoriginal and all they do is to steal from their three favorite bands and make a new band. I find this a lot that people think that everything is unoriginal. That's a supposed modernist idea that nobody and nothing can go any further. I think this is bullshit.

I relate to modernism which is the idea that the concept is important not the style. When I make music, most of the time I have an idea that I am trying to illustrate and it is not really about a style.

In the case of the Ayler tribute, that was not really my album. That was something that I played on but at the same time when the idea came up I said, "You know, I love Albert Ayler, but why would we make another tribute album. That is bullshit. Are we going to play Ghosts and Bells and all this stuff? Who fucking cares – it is bullshit."

So we got the idea that if we are going to do this record we should make it really fucked up. The concept by Henry Kaiser was to take the later material that everyone hates and try to save it and make it interesting. I think this is a good tribute to Albert Ayler because we were not going to do the same bullshit everyone else does. So for me this was a good idea. But once again, it is not my album; I refuse to take responsibility for it. If I had been the leader I had made it different. Or I wouldn't make it at all. But so it is just fine.”


Sunwatcher and man reviewing his Ayler record collection on youtube

Last month I mentioned another Ayler tribute CD by Jeff Lederer called Sunwatcher. There’s now a clip of his band on youtube. And to go with the man enthusing over the Holy Ghost box last month, here’s one of a man going through his whole Ayler collection (although he doesn’t have the box, just the triple LP set).


Swing Low Sweet Spiritual released on vinyl

Klimt Records (based in France) have just released two Ayler albums on vinyl; Spirits and, more interestingly, Swing Low Sweet Spiritual.


By the time I came to buy a copy of Spirits it had become known as Witches and Devils and that seemed to be the generally accepted title for the album, so that was the way it was listed in the discography when I came to do this site. However, recent reissues (especially the vinyl ones) have reverted to the original title.

When I came to add Swing Low Sweet Spiritual to the discography, I followed the same pattern, thinking the original album, with its limited release would soon be replaced by the shiny new CD with the extra tracks and that the new title of Goin’ Home would be accepted as standard. Now, of course, Goin’ Home has disappeared off the shelves and we have this vinyl reissue of the original LP. But, enough of the problems of a poor discographer, instead let us celebrate the return of one of Albert Ayler’s most controversial albums into the world. Controversial not because it’s full of difficult, noisy, screechy sounds which terrify the horses, but, on the contrary because it isn’t. Recorded at the same session as Witches ... sorry ... Spirits, but totally different. Straightforward readings (with barely even a hint of improvisation) of old spirituals and a couple of standards.

For years the tapes remained unreleased. Spirits originally appeared on the Danish Debut label, but they didn’t want Swing Low Sweet Spiritual, and neither did Bernard Stollman at ESP. Eventually, years after Ayler’s death, George Coppens released the album on his Osmosis labet, along with The Hilversum Session. It was given a scathing review by Brian Case in The Wire in March 1983: “All the duet sections with the corny Call Cobbs remind one of an Edwardian recital of ‘In A Monastery Garden’, one posing with a roll of sheet music, the other with rosewater on his hair.”

Personally, I think it’s great. The problem of the late Impulses can be discussed ad infinitum (it even gets a page in the essay, ‘New Thing? Gender and Sexuality in the Jazz Composers Guild’ by Benjamin Piekut - American Quarterly, Volume 62, Number 1, March 2010, pp. 25-48) but the real mystery of the Ayler oeuvre is Swing Low Sweet Spiritual.

Coincidentally I’ve just added the CD booklet from Goin’ Home to the site (as well as covers and booklets from Ghosts, The Copenhagen Tapes and the version of Live at Slug’s Saloon which went under the title of In Memory of Albert Ayler and features sleevenotes by Peter Brotzmann.


Another French Book

The bookshelves of France groan under the weight of books about Albert Ayler, and here’s another one - not specifically about Albert, but with a definite connection since it’s a collection of essays by the late Daniel Caux. There’s more about the book on Jacqueline Caux’s site, but here’s part of the blurb from the back cover:

Musicians of the second half of the twentieth century, from John Cage to Richie Hawtin, passing through the American minimalists, free jazz, and some unclassifiable artists and visionaries, know what they owe to Daniel Caux’s creative and generous ear. A trafficker of sounds, a caravanist of nomadic music, he brought to our ears the chorus of his enthusiastic discoveries. Starting in the late 60s, he dedicated himself to championing all those who have drawn today’s musical landscape and to getting them heard. His writing, always well- founded and precise, was a daily companion of this musical adventure: articles, liner notes, programs, broadcasts for France Culture and France Musique, the texts collected here are a living history of a century of sound put to music by the musicians themselves. John Cage, La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Robert Wilson, Charlemagne Palestine, Louis Andriessen, Urban Sax, Cornelius Cardew, Gavin Bryars, Michael Nyman, Glenn Branca, Arvo Pärt, Michael Galasso, Alan Lloyd, John Adams, Peter Sellars, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Milford Graves, Sunny Murray, David Murray, Meredith Monk, Laurie Anderson, Nina Hagen, Alkan, Léon Theremin, Harry Partch, Conlon Nancarrow, Moondog, Luc Ferrari, Eliane Radigue, Thom Willems, Iannis Xenakis, Sonic Arts Union, Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier, David Berhman, Gordon Mumma… and techno.”



And a few final sites

Before we leave France and head off to Russia, I thought I should mention this site I found. It’s a forum thing and there’s a long section about Albert Ayler which includes a mention of the film, My Name Is Albert Ayler, with a picture of a DVD cover. Obviously a pirate copy since you can just make out a reference to the Swedish TV broadcast, but whether it’s just a mock-up for the article or something which has been available on the shores of Barbary I don’t know. I don’t want to confuse things further by adding the picture here, but I thought it was worth noting.

Onto Russia, and a site which Yair found which contains 67 pictures from the Holy Ghost book, including this one:


The only reason for adding that here is to give you a firm grip of reality before we pass on to the true gem in Yair’s discoveries this month. I’m not sure how far the joke will travel, but for those who have a passing acquaintance with the Working Men’s clubs of the industrial north of England, – Vincent Kelly’s posters for imaginary gigs by the likes of John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders are truly inspired. Here’s the one for Albert:


And now that we’ve passed over into a world where Albert Ayler is touring the northern club circuit with the likes of Bernard Manning and Freddie ‘Mr. Parrot Face’ Davies, I offer the following item from The Lock Haven Express of December 6th, 1951, as a possible explanation for an Ayler tune title which has always puzzled me - ‘Masonic Inborn’ from Music Is The Healing Force Of The Universe.


I also like this headline from the same issue:




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