Something Different!!!!!

My Name Is Albert Ayler


Swing Low Sweet Spiritual


Spiritual Unity

New York Eye And Ear Control

The Copenhagen Tapes


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

Lost Performances

In Greenwich Village

Love Cry

New Grass

Music Is The Healing Force Of The Universe

The Last Album

Live On The Riviera

Nuits De La Fondation Maeght


Holy Ghost


Complete List

Unreleased Recordings


Don Ayler Discography

What’s Available

The Music:

Some mp3s

Sheet Music



The Inconsistency of
Tune Titles
     Europe 1966
     Slugs’ Saloon
     La Cave






Record Reviews

Concert Reviews

Magazine covers

Images of Albert

Ayler Remembered

Appreciations of Ayler

What’s Old


What’s New

Site Search


October to December



News from 2011 - October to December

October 1 2011

My Name Is Albert Ayler on youtube

I’m opening this month’s update with this item since it is obviously the most important, especially for those who haven’t managed to make it to one of the cinema screenings of My Name Is Albert Ayler, or weren’t in Sweden when it was shown on telly, or donned the parrot and eyepatch to grab it by illegal means. However, when I first heard about the film appearing on youtube, my first reaction was one of disappointment. I’ve never had much luck communicating with Kasper Collin, the film’s director, so I have no information about what’s been happening, but for some time now I’ve been wondering whether his film has fallen foul of the same legal problems which have kept the 1970 documentary about Albert Ayler in the vaults of the Fondation Maeght. If that is the case (and I have no evidence, just a sneaking suspicion) then it may mean that we’ll never see My Name Is Albert Ayler get a proper release on DVD; that an obvious DVD extra - the uncut version of the remaining footage from the 1966 Berlin concert (if that is in fact where it’s from) - won’t see the light of day; and that those of us who don’t speak Swedish will never know what Albert’s girlfriend is saying, since this version on youtube is the one broadcast on Swedish television. That a film which garnered so much critical acclaim when it first appeared is, after six years, only available in this less than perfect form, seems very sad.

So, for those who haven’t seen it, or for those who want to see it again, here it is. I’ve no idea how long it will remain available, and I’m still hoping that this is just a glitch and one day we’ll get a proper DVD release.

My Name Is Albert Ayler


My Name Is Albert Ayler


Ghosts in Leeds



7 October 2011 – from 7pm - at Holy Trinity Church, Boar Lane, Leeds, UK

GHOSTS, a tribute to Albert Ayler

Ghosts is a collaborative work by the artists Derek Horton and Eoin Shea, and the musicians Paul Hession (percussion) and Leon Thomas Johnson (tenor saxophone). Hession and Johnson improvise to two twin-screen film projections by Horton and Shea. The project is a tribute to the legendary musician Albert Ayler, 41 years after his death in New York at the age of 34. After falling from the Staten Island ferry in mysterious circumstances, Ayler’s body was found on 25 November 1970.

Ghosts has its origins in an earlier collaboration between Derek Horton and Leon Johnson several years ago: an animated sequence of Horton’s photographs of three significant locations in New York - Sonny Rollins’ practice spot on the Williamsburg Bridge, 48 East 3rd where Sun Ra and his Arkestra lived, and Congress Street Pier, where Albert Ayler’s body was washed up after he drowned in the East River. This was sound-tracked with a recording of a Johnson saxophone improvisation multi-tracked in post-production by Horton. This work can still be seen at http://www.slashseconds.org/issues/001/002/articles/dhortonljohnson/index.php.

For the current project, Eoin Shea has re-worked the original footage in one film, and also made an entirely new film, in collaboration with Horton and in response to recordings of Albert Ayler’s music. This utilises video footage shot for the project in the vicinity of Congress Street Pier by New York-based artist Les Joynes, together with especially commissioned typography by Andrew Wilson Lambeth. The resulting twin-screen black-and-white projection is focused on textural and rhythmic image qualities and will provide the starting-point as well as the backdrop for Hession and Johnson’s improvisation.

Ghosts is the second collaborative production between Eoin Shea and Derek Horton. The first, The Man Who Saved The World, took place in the abandoned shell of a former shopping space in Leeds city centre on 23 Sept 2010. Within 22,000 square feet of reclaimed space, Home of the Brave sound-tracked Shea’s ten screen circular cinema of re-cut science fiction imagery with free jazz inflected renditions of classic western film tunes. Documentation can be seen at http://www.themanwhosavedtheworld.co.uk/ and http://vimeo.com/19129342

The first performance of Ghosts will take place in the landmark 18th century Holy Trinity Church in Leeds city centre on Friday 7th October from 7pm. It is a self-funded project and attendance is free. Subsequent touring dates are planned and should be announced shortly.

Paul Hession, born in Leeds, is one of the major free-jazz drummers in the world. He took up the drums in his teens and has played in many European & Scandinavian countries as well as Argentina, Mexico, Cuba, USA and Canada, performing with many world-renowned improvising musicians including Peter Brotzmann, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Lol Coxhill, Sunny Murray, Marshall Allen, Frode Gjerstad, Peter Kowald, Joe McPhee and Borah Bergman. Other collaborators include Tom Jenkinson (Squarepusher), Otomo Yoshihide, Alan Wilkinson, Simon Fell, Mick Beck & Hans-Peter Hiby and Paul Woolford.

Leon Thomas Johnson is a member of The Ariya Astrobeat Arkestra, a Leeds-based afro-beat band influenced by Fela Kuti and others. In 2009 the band were signed to independent record label First Word Records and released their self-titled debut album in 2010. As an improviser Leon has worked with Paul Dunmall and others, and regularly with Paul Hession in their duo Gunboat Diplomacy.

Derek Horton is an artist, writer and teacher. After working in community arts, adventure playgrounds and alternative education in the 1970s, he spent many years as a university-based art school academic. He now works independently on art projects, writing and publishiing, including the online magazine Soanyway.

Eoin Shea is an artist working with film, video, painting, collage and installation, often collaborating with musicians to produce large-scale live events. These include work with Vibracathedral Orchestra co-founder Michael Flower, Richard Ormrod's Home of the Brave, The Telescopes, and Ashtray Navigations, making film and video for live improvised sound-tracking and working with the textural and sensorial impact of film in a live performance environment.

Albert Ayler - playing with a wild, atonal sound in his hometown of Cleveland in the 1950s, an era in which a good deal of jazz was getting quieter and smoother, the other-worldly Ayler focussed obsessively on a contemporary vision of the long-gone ragged polyphonies, street-marches, gospel songs and spirituals of the earliest African-American music. He once said of his music: “If people don't like it now, they will.” He didn’t live to see that happen, but history was on his side. The Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek was a devoted Ayler disciple in the late-1960s, as was Coltrane acolyte and subsequent acid-jazz  star, Pharoah Sanders. The unique British improv original Evan Parker still has Ayler inflections, and even Sonny Rollins and the late Michael Brecker, despite greater acceptance in a more conventional contemporary jazz world, appreciated the intensity of Ayler's extraordinary sound.


Ayler in Manga


This one comes courtesy of George Scala and has been around for a while, so apologies for the late news. Astral Project by Marginal and Syuji Takeya, is a manga series which originally appeared in the magazine,Comic Beam, beginning in 2005. The first part of the English version was published in 2008 as a graphic novel, and three further volumes followed in 2009. And the reason for its inclusion here? To quote George’s succinct précis: “A young man listens to a CD of Ayler’s music, and has out of body experiences.”
Further information is available in the Bibliography section, and there’s a review of Volume 1 here.
(By the way, Marginal, the writer of Astral Project, is a nom de plume of Garon Tsuchiya, the creator of Old Boy, which is currently undergoing one of those pointless Hollywood remakes - I wonder if they’ll keep the octopus scene?)


Albert’s Grave

My Name Is Albert Ayler is bookended by poignant scenes of Edward Ayler searching the Highland Park Cemetery for his son’s grave. Michal Flisiuk took the same trip and his photos are online (scoot down the page to the photo of Albert the boy).


Two Videos

Yair Dagan sent me the link to the item above and he also found two more Ayler-related videos online (he also let me know about My Name Is Albert Ayler appearing on youtube, so, once again, thanks Yair). The first is a straightforward version of ‘Ghosts’ by the Chris Pasin band - Chris on trumpet, Erik Lawrence on alto sax, Joel Newton (guitar), Mark Hagan (bass) and Marvin Bugalu Smith (drums). Very much a ‘blowing session’ and none the worse for that.

The second video is a little more quirky. It’s a solo tribute to Albert Ayler by Martin Minervini and I found it quite hypnotic.


And finally ... Jesus

As well as two fairly ordinary examples of Spiritual Unity and Bells, I’ve also added the cover of Jesus to the site. This is one of the stranger Ayler releases, the Lorrach concert from the 1966 European tour, which was officially released by Hat Hut Records as Lorrach/Paris 1966. A note on the back of the LP states: “Album produced through the courtesy of Don Ayler”, so one assumes this was a product of Don’s Italian adventure in 1981.


October 13 2011

New Albert Ayler CD Released


HAT HUT Records have finally announced the release (on 24th October) of Stockholm, Berlin 1966. I first came across a listing for this on a ‘future release’ page on their site in March, 2005, and eventually gave up waiting for it and put the bootleg version of the Stockholm concert on this site (I’ve now removed it). The back cover of the CD (taken from the Hat Hut site) gives the track listing and other details:


Sorry it’s not bigger - the details are also on the Discogs site, and the Harmonia Mundi site has a larger version of Jon Litweiler’s blurb at the top:


The Berlin tracks have had a rather chequered career, appearing on Italian bootlegs (see the Live In Europe 1964-1966 page in the Discography), a French CD and, most recently, the Holy Ghost box (which was never authorised by the Ayler estate). The Stockholm tracks have never been released before, either officially or unofficially, so that’s why this is an important addition to the Ayler Discography. One interesting thing about the Stockholm concert is the addition of the fourth track, ‘Infinite Spirit- Japan’, which didn’t appear on the bootleg version. Perhaps when the CD is finally in the shops and the reviews trickle in we’ll find out whether this version (especially of the Berlin  concert) has been taken from different source material, with, hopefully, better sound quality. I must thank Yair Dagan (yet again) for alerting me to this release - otherwise I wouldn’t have come across it till the regular update in November.


Henry Grimes concerts

I also received an email from Henry’s wife, Margaret, with details of some upcoming concerts in October (and November), so I’ll take the opportunity to mention them here:

Thursday, Oct. 2Oth, 6 p.m: Henry Grimes, 3O-min. solo improv in Aldo Tambellini’s “Black Zero,” Chelsea Art Museum, 556 West 22nd St. (at 11th Ave.), NYC, NY 1OO11, 212-255-O719,

Saturday, Oct. 22nd, 2 p.m: Henry Grimes’s Sublime Communication Trio, w/ Andrew Lamb & Newman Taylor Baker, Paterson (NJ) Public Library, 25O Broadway [O75O1], 973-321-1215.

Thursday, Oct. 27th: Marc Ribot w/ Henry Grimes & Chad Taylor, Grand Theatre, Grote Markt 35, 9711 LV Groningen, Netherlands, +31 (O)5O 314 4644.

Friday, Oct. 28th: Marc Ribot w/ Henry Grimes & Chad Taylor, Bishopsgate Institute, 23O Bishopsgate betw. Brushfield St. & Artillery Lane, London EC2M 4QH, England, +44 (O)2O 7392 92OO.

Saturday, Oct. 29th: Marc Ribot w/ Henry Grimes & Chad Taylor, Komeda Jazz Festival, Baltic Philharmonic Hall, Slupsk, Gdansk, Poland, +48 59 842 13 96.

Sunday, Oct. 3Oth: Marc Ribot w/ Henry Grimes & Chad Taylor, Dom Omladine Beograda, Makedonska 22/IV, 11OOO Belgrade (Beograd), Serbia, +381 11 3223 461, box office +381 11 3248 2O2.

Tuesday, Nov. 1st: Marc Ribot w/ Henry Grimes & Chad Taylor, Porgy & Bess Club, Riemergasse 11, Vienna A-1O1O, Austria, office +43-1-512 88 11, +43-1-5O3 7O O9.

Wednesday, Nov. 2nd: Marc Ribot w/ Henry Grimes & Chad Taylor, Jazz Dock, Prague, Czech Republic, +42O 774 O58 838.

Thursday, Nov. 3rd (Henry's 76th birthday in the "house of youth"!): Marc Ribot w/ Henry Grimes & Chad Taylor, Haus der Jugend, Mitternachtsgasse 8, 55116 Mainz, Germany, +49 (O)61 31 22 84 42.

Saturday, Nov. 5th: Marc Ribot w/ Henry Grimes & Chad Taylor, Szeged Jazz Days, IH Event Center, 6721 Szeged, Felso Tisza - Part 2, Hungary, +36 62 423 638.

Monday, Nov. 7th: Marc Ribot w/ Henry Grimes & Chad Taylor, Cafe Wilhelmina, Wilhelminaplein 6, Noord-Brabant, 5611 HE Eindhoven, Netherlands, +31 (O)4O 244 7286.

Tuesday, Nov. 8th: Marc Ribot w/ Henry Grimes & Chad Taylor, Maison de la Culture, Nevers, France, O3 86 93 O9 OO, <http://www.mcnn.fr> D'Jazz Nevers Festival (Rencontres Internationales d'Jazz de Nevers), contact 3bis place des Reines de Pologne - BP 824, 58OO8 Nevers Cedes, phone +33 (O)3 86 57 88 51, tickets +33 (O)3 86 57 OO OO.

Wednesday, Nov. 9th: Henry Grimes and Rasul Siddik, Galerie Zurcher, 56 rue Chapon, 75OO3 Paris, France, +33-(O)1 42 72 82 2O.

And Happy 76th Birthday Henry on November 3rd!


October 16 2011

Stockholm Concert tracks on French Radio

Just a quick update thanks to Axel Van Looy who emailed to say that there was a programme about Albert Ayler on France Musique, broadcast on 11th October. It’s still available online and is worth a listen since it contains two tracks from the Stockholm concert from the new Hat Hut CD: ‘Truth Is Marching In’ and ‘Our Prayer - Bells’.


And like that, it’s gone ...

Thought I might as well let you know that Kasper Collin’s film My Name Is Albert Ayler has been withdrawn from youtube, due to a copyright claim from Swedish TV. Fair enough.


November 1 2011

Stockholm. Berlin 1966 reviews

I’ve only found a couple of reviews of the ‘new’ Ayler CD. They’re both quite short, and both from U.K. newspapers;

John Fordham in The Guardian and Phil Johnson in The Independent.

And that’s about it from me. Over to Yair Dagan who has during the past months contributed so much to this page that, for the first time, I’ve had to split this year into three parts. You’ll find the June to September entries in the archives. As well as contributions for the What’s New page Yair has also found photos and obscure versions of Ayler tunes and tributes, and has also sought out all those examples of ‘Ayler artworks’, which I would have otherwise ignored, for the Ayler Images section. This month, as well as everything which follows, he came up with this - an etching of the Ayler Quartet playing at John Coltrane’s funeral - which I thought deserved to be placed here as well. Further information about the picture and the artist is available at the Toledo Museum of Art and artnet.com.


A Moment Supreme by Vincent DaCosta Smith



Three interviews from the Albert Ayler Birthday Broadcast of July 13, 1987 on WKCR are available online. Don Cherry recalls his first meeting with Ayler, and Milford Graves imparts a lot of information about the Love Cry session and comes up with his own explanation about why both Ayler brothers could play so loud.

Interview with Milford Graves: Part One, Part Two

Interview with Don Cherry: History Talk Spiritualism Talk

Interview with Archie Shepp



Love Cry (or at least ‘Universal Indians’ from that session) gets the full academic treatment in Flow, Gesture, and Spaces in Free Jazz: Towards a Theory of Collaboration by Guerino B. Mazzola and Paul B. Cherlin.

A less high-falutin’ take on the music is provided in this extract from Considering Genius: Writings on Jazz by Stanley Crouch:

‘I also knew Errol Henderson, who had played with Albert Ayler, Norman Howard, Henry Grimes, and Sunny Murray on a record called Spirits. Henderson encouraged me to go as far away from the norm as possible. I went over to his house and we played long duets that were more about sound than bass lines or drum rhythms in straight time.
... Errol got messed up in some kind of theft with a local black nationalist witch and left town, fleeing the police. I never heard from him again but his stories of Albert Ayler and Norman Howard were prime.
Errol never assumed that they were equal to Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, or Sonny Rollins. He thought their value was in the energy and the boldness they brought to the music, and he was willing to bet on all of us getting that through the gauntlet. Once he smirked at the memory of Albert Ayler chuckling and repeatedly saying “Poor Sonny” when Rollins came through Cleveland. “Albert could play what he knew and that was cool, but he couldn’t get up there and mess with Sonny, who was playing his ass off. I knew what Albert could do and what he couldn’t do. He went down there the next night to play with Sonny and Cherry and I think Sonny put something on his head because he didn’t have much to say about it. Then, I was the one chuckling. But, you know, Albert and Norman Howard were gunning for Ornette, too. When you got with them, Albert would say, ‘I bet when he hears me, he’s not gonna pick up that tenor again,’ and Norman would say, ‘Yeah, I know he ain’t gonna fuck with no trumpet!’ They were both wrong: Ornette didn’t care what anybody else did. He was pulling his own wagon and just wanted people to get out of his fucking way.” ’

And, although Ayler is only referred to in passing, Vindicating karma: Jazz and the Black Arts movement by W. S. Tkweme, does contain the following snippet of information in the section on The East club:

“Sanders, as the place’s number one draw, was in a category unto himself, commanding $2000 for his three night gigs. Archie Shepp was a special friend of The East, working for $600 per weekend. (He also was a late fill-in for the Albert Ayler East gig that never was: Ayler was booked for Dec. 25-27 of 1970, but was discovered dead in the water (the East River) in late November.)”


Michael Snow and the Walking Woman

There’s another interview with Michael Snow online, which mentions his film, New York Eye and Ear Control, and goes into some depth about his own music:

Improvisation, Representation, and Abstraction in Music and Art:
Michael Snow and Jesse Stewart in Conversation. Toronto. 12 November 2005.

And there’s a collection of Snow’s ‘Walking Women’ on the designKULTUR site.


Avast there me hearties!

Earlier this year I came across a knock-off copy of the Kasper Collin film, My Name Is Albert Ayler, and decided not to sully these pages with a picture of the cover. Now Yair has come across another one. Given the fact that a fair number of the albums in the Ayler discography were sourced from bootleg recordings, and bearing in mind that one Ayler film has been stuck in a French vault for 40 years, and since no one seems to be acting on Dick the Butcher’s advice from Henry the Sixth, Part II, I thought maybe, for historical purposes, if nothing else, I should add them here.

pirate2 pirate1

December 1 2011

A Very Ayler Christmas

Well, it’s the season to be jolly again, which means - for Canadians at least - Bernard Stepien’s concerts mingling Ayler tunes with Christmas carols. This year Bernard is taking his project on the road and here’s the information:

Bernard Stepien Quintet
A very Ayler Christmas Project
On tour!

Thursday, Dec 8th, 8 PM Le Café des Artistes de la Lièvre, Buckingham
Sunday, Dec 11
th, 8 PM, at Somewhere There, Toronto
Tuesday, Dec 13
th, 8:00 PM at the Mercury Lounge, Ottawa
Saturday, Dec 17
th, 9:30 PM at l’Envers, Montreal
Sunday, Dec 18
th, 7 PM at the UMI café, Ottawa (IMOO series)


Bernard Stepien, Tenor saxophone
Linsey Wellman, Alto saxophone and bass clarinet
Craig Pedersen, trumpet
Philippe Charbonneau, bass
Scott Warren, drums and percussions

“This year, our Albert Ayler - Christmas Carols concert is in a maturing phase. Our last year released CD has had a warm welcome by the Ayler experts worldwide and landed some encouraging reviews. Also, it did not take more than a few hours for out of town venues to accept our proposals and start sending promotion material to local media. Thus, this year we are playing Montreal and Toronto as a start which means that we should be totally hot by the time we hit Ottawa.

The proof of concept of mixing or better said fusing Christmas Carols and Albert Ayler composition is behind us. This year we have focused more on what to do with it. This meant more research on Ayler’s artefacts and working them into the deep fibres of Christmas carols. It is now true alchemy with even sometimes a more scientific chemistry. We even managed to fuse I Wish You A Very Christmas with Ayler’s Spirit Rejoice composition and of course we had no choice than to extend the repertoire with a couple of new couplings: God Rest you Merry, Gentlemen with Ayler’s Prophecy and Ayler’s Oh! Love of Life and the worn out carol, Angels we have heard on high.

One thing is now sure, both Albert Ayler aficionados or experts and the general public like this project. Why? We really don’t know. Maybe the constant flow of re-issues of Albert Ayler recordings and the publication of books slowly made his originally fierce avant- garde style more understandable.

Finally, people are very busy attending Christmas parties or travelling. The tour should provide you with the opportunity to fit one of our concerts into your busy schedule. See you all there…

Next year we will do Jingle Bells…”

If you missed my review of Bernard’s CD in January this year, it’s in the archives, and if you want to know more about the genesis of the  project, go to Bernard’s site. I also found this on youtube - a Bernard Stepien solo mingling of ‘Oh Christmas Tree’ with ‘Ghosts’.


There’s also a video of Bernard playing ‘’Summertime with his granddaughter, Isabelle. So now you’re thinking what’s that got to do with the price of tomatoes, or Albert Ayler for that matter - well, it’s just a neat link into the next item.


Albert Ayler’s ‘Summertime’ - what was he thinking?

Last week, BBC4, one of the TV channels over here in England (because, unfortunately, we can’t all live in Canada) broadcast a documentary about George Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’, which is the most ‘covered’ song in history, with over 25,000 recorded versions. The main idea of the programme was showing how the song could transcend musical genres, so we start off with the opera, Porgy and Bess, then show how it developed into a jazz standard, with lots of pretty versions, then how it withstood the arrival of rock’n’roll and there was an interview with Colin Blunstone of The Zombies talking about their version, then we were into the hippies and Janis Joplin, then the Black Panthers taking exception to the cover of the Cheap Thrills album, and then the stock-footage changed from flower children in the park, to the riots in Watts and as Albert Ayler’s version from My Name Is Albert Ayler (recorded in Denmark in 1963) started to play, the lady doing the voice-over said this:

“In America, the summers of the 1960s were intimately related to love-ins and flower power and Janis Joplin’s version of ‘Summertime’ fed into that notion of a beautiful, psychedelic summer. But the summers of the 1960s for many Black Americans were the long hot summers of rage. ... Albert Ayler’s tense, discordant version of ‘Summertime’ perfectly encapsulated the Black American mood of anger and disaffection in the 1960s.”

Which annoyed me. I suppose I should be glad that Ayler’s version was played at all, but it just struck me as a shoddy piece of documentary- making. I presume they just heard Ayler’s version and thought, ‘that sounds weird and angry, it’ll go well with the footage of the race riots and we can get Stanley Crouch and Bonnie Greer to make some cheap points’ without bothering to check when and where it was recorded. I don’t know what Albert was thinking while he played ‘Summertime’ in Denmark in January 1963, just as I don’t know what he was thinking when he recorded a mellower version of it in Finland in June 1962 with the Herbert Katz Quintet. Personally I’d say for the 1962 version it wasn’t his band so he was more restrained than on the 1963 date when he was the leader. I think his interpretation was just about the music and trying to do something different. If you want to think he was looking into the future and seeing the trouble that was to come, or even if you think he’s expressing his angst at being a musician in exile, fair enough, but if you’re then going to put him in a documentary, shove him in after the other jazz versions, you can still make your point about how the song can sound a bit odd. But don’t ignore the facts because then you’re just enforcing the common stereotype of Ayler’s music as ‘angry’ and ‘difficult’. He’s been dead for over forty years now, when are people going to see the beauty and the joy in his music?

Anyway, rant over, sorry about that. The programme is still available on the BBC site so you can have a look for yourselves. The Ayler section starts around the 48 minute mark.


Some Reviews

There’s a good review of Stockholm, Berlin 1966 on the Dusted Magazine site, which includes this piece of information:

“The Berlin concert that makes up half of this live recording has been similarly blighted. In 2004, Revenant Records released it with a slightly different running order as part of the Holy Ghost box. A lawsuit between that label and ESP Records’ Bernard Stollman resulted in Revenant’s near-collapse, and one notes a statement on this CD’s sleeve that “This is the first release of these performances… to be approved by and officially and legally licensed from the Ayler Estate and the copyright holders of these tapes.”

And I also came across a couple of reviews of the other notable Ayler release from this year, the Impulse twinning of Love Cry with The Last Album, on the PopMatters and Burning Ambulance sites.


Ghosts in Leeds on Vimeo

A four minute extract from ‘Ghosts’, the audio-visual tribute to Albert Ayler by the artists Derek Horton and Eoin Shea, and the musicians Paul Hession (percussion) and Leon Thomas Johnson (tenor saxophone), which was performed in Leeds on October 7th has been posted on the Vimeo site and should appear below:


Season’s Greetings from Henry Grimes


Season’s Greetings from Henry Grimes, who is touring Europe in December, before returning to New York for a New Year’s Eve bash:

Friday, Dec. 9th, 1-4 p.m: Henry Grimes workshop at the Royal Conservatory (KASK), Gent, Belgium (sorry – not open to the public).

Saturday, Dec. 10th, 7 p.m: Henry Grimes in concert with Elaine Mitchener and David Toop, Drieklank (Trio Sound) Festival on Campus Bijloke at KASK (Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten), Jozef Kluyskensstraat 2, 9OOO Gent, Belgium.

Monday, Dec. 12th, doors open at 8 p.m: Henry Grimes solo concert (double-bass, violin, poetry, 1st set) and with Paul Dunmall and Roger Turner (2nd set), Cafe Oto, Print House, 18-22 Ashwin Street, London E8 3DL.

Friday, Dec. 16th, 9 p.m: Henry Grimes solo concert (double-bass, violin, poetry), Korjaamo Culture Factory, Toolonkatu 51B, FIN-OO25O, Helsinki, Finland.

Saturday, Dec. 31st (New Year's Eve), 8 p.m. John Zorn improv benefit with many special guests, $25; 11 p.m. Marc Ribot's Spiritual Unity Quartet w/ Roy Campbell, Jr., Henry Grimes, and Chad Taylor, "Bells at Midnight," music by and for Albert Ayler, $6O includes champagne toast at midnight, at the Stone, northwest corner of Ave. C and 2nd St., New York City, no advance tickets or reservations, so just get there early!


Nat Hentoff Downbeat Interview

Nat Hentoff’s interview with the Ayler brothers which was originally published in the November 17th, 1966 issue of Downbeat has been on this site for a while now - or so I thought. Actually what I had was an abridged version which probably appeared after Albert’s death. Thanks to Yair Dagan, I’ve now got the full version. Most of Don’s interjections were cut out in the later version, including his tale about walking to the North Pole (which I still don’t believe). It’s well worth a read (especially if you’re Stanley Crouch or Bonnie Greer since Albert seems to have more in common with the hippies in the park than the rioters on the streets - o.k. I’ll let it go now) and I found the last exchange particularly telling:

“The most important thing,” Don said, “is to produce your sound and have no psychic frustrations. And that involves having enough to  eat.”
“Yes,” Albert said. “Music has been a gift to me. All I expect is a chance to create without worrying about such basics as food.”
“To give peace,” Don said, “you have to have peace.”


Three Ayler Tributes

Yair also sent details of three pieces with an Ayler connection.


The first is from a CD by the Magic Poetry Band called The Kurl of the Butterflys Tongue. The track is called ‘They Did Not Need You, Albert’ and is available on youtube:


Although I like the performance I have to admit I’m not that taken by the actual poem. Yair took the trouble to hunt down the words, which are available here. I think I’ve been reading Robert Buchanan too long, I’ve got out of the habit of teasing out meaning:

And poor Bess, yer see, was sickly—for she’d never been the same
Since she got a kick from father on the back, wot made her lame;—
As for mother, she was berried too, thank God! One winter night
Been run over by a Pickford, when mad drunk, and serve her right!

We digress. The next tribute is also available online, and is from Divine Messages from the Light Bringers by Chip and the Polytone Vendors. The track is called ‘Elliptical Galaxy Starkestra (Hollogram of Albert Ayler)’.


The third piece is the score for a song written by the flautist, Michel Edelin called ‘L’Air d’Ayler’, which is available on his site. As far as I can tell this hasn’t been recorded and it did make me wonder whether there are any other tributes to Ayler out there which only exist on paper. The only one I know of, but I’ve been unable to find any further information about, was a piece called ‘Negentrophy/Entropy: Temporal, Spatial Systems in Kinesis and Stasis—an elegy for Albert Ayler’ by Robert Moore, which, according to the cuttings below was performed twice at Oberlin College in 1972.


From The Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria, Ohio) Wednesday, 19th January, 1972.


From The Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria, Ohio) Monday, 20th March, 1972.


And, barring major news items, that’s it for this year. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, I’m off to deck me ‘alls. See you in 2012 - we can all meet up here:


December 17 2011

Blue Notes, Cold Nights

On Tuesday 13th December, a 30 minute programme about American jazz musicians in Scandinavia in the 1960s, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. I missed it (of course) so I have to thank both Tim Witham and Sean Wilkie for letting me know about it. The programme, Blue Notes, Cold Nights, is still available on the BBC’s website (it says until 1st January 2099, but I wouldn’t leave it that long if I were you, I think it’s a mistake) and it’s well worth a listen. There’s quite a bit about Don Cherry, and Albert Ayler gets a mention around the 20 minute mark. While someone recalls witnessing an Ayler performance (and the green leather suit) in the early 60s and Mats Gustafsson adds his comments, ‘Water Music’ (from The Last Album) plays in the background. Which seems an odd choice, but the programme did go out at 11.30 in the morning so maybe they chose something that wouldn’t frighten the horses.


Some Reviews

Bernard Stepien sent a couple of reviews of A Very Ayler Christmas - one from the Ottawa Citizen and another from the Montreal Mirror (“This so-obvious-no-one-did-it-before wassailing mash-up works as both tribute to Ayler’s spirit and as the only stocking stuffer your Grinchiest jazz-lovin’ relatives will appreciate.”)

And thanks to Tim Witham for alerting me to this review of Stockholm, Berlin 1966 from the December issue of Point of Departure (although ‘For John Coltrane’ was the first track on In Greenwich Village not Love Cry).

Again, have a good Christmas.



News from

2000         2001         2002         2003

2004 (January - June)         2004 (July - December)

2005 (January - May)         2005 (June - December)

2006         2007         2008         2009

2010 (January - June)         2010 (July - December)

2011 (January - May)         2011 (June - September)

2012 (January - May)         2012 (June - December)

2013 (January - June)          2013 (July - September)          2013 (October - December)

2014 (January - June)          2014 (July - December)

2015 (January - May)         2015 (June - August)         2015 (September - December)

2016 (January - March)         2016 (April - June)          2016 (July - August)         2016 (September - December)

2017 (January - May)         2017 (June - September)          2017 (October - December)

2018 (January - May)         2018 (June - September)          2018 (October - December)

2019 (January - May)         2019 (June - September)          2019 (October - December)

2020 (January - April)         2020 (May - August)          2020 (September - December)

2021 (January - March)         2021 (April - July)          2021 (August - December)

2022 (January - April)         2022 (May - August)          2022 (September - December)

2023 (January - March)         2023 (April - June)          2023 (July - September)          2023 (October - December)

2024 (January - March)


Home         Biography         Discography         The Music         Archives         Links         What’s New         Site Search