From Utrechts Nieuwsblad (9th November, 1966 - p. 5) - click the picture for the full review.
Yair also came across a couple of interviews, one new, one old (in fact, to avoid needless repetition, let’s just say Yair found the next bunch of items and when you get down to speculations on what Swedish film directors might be up to, you’re back to me). This first one, with Roscoe Mitchell, from earlier this year on the emusic site, contains the following, which may be of interest:
“This summer, you’ll be playing in a trio with the legendary bassist Henry Grimes. When did you first hear Grimes — and what role, if any, did it have in your development?
Well Henry, I mean he has a lot of knowledge about music. When I was first starting to change the direction of my music, I was listening to him on some of those ESP records.
Like The Call?
Yeah. So it was great to actually get a chance to play music with him. The first time we played, he was in California doing some concerts, so I had him come in to talk to my improv class…This will be the third performance together.
When you talk about the “change” in the direction of your music, I assume this was before Sound and your introduction to the AACM. What else was going on in that period for you?
You know, I had heard Ornette Coleman when I was in the Army and so on. And then I had the pleasure of being in the company of Albert Ayler, as he was in [France] then, and I was in Heidelberg, Germany.
And we would meet in Berlin and join with the Berlin band — and ah…Then it would be sessions going on. When I met Albert Ayler I didn’t really understand that much of what he was doing. But I did know that, as a saxophonist, he had an enormous sound on the instrument. Once we were playing the blues, and Albert played, you know, the first few chords in a conventional way. And then after that, he began to really stretch the materials. Somehow that made some kind of connection for me…Even then even when I got back to Chicago I wasn’t sold on it totally, at sessions I was still playing in a more conventional way.
But then it really wasn’t until I got out of the Army and I started listening to John Coltrane’s record, Coltrane. He was doing, like, “Out of This World.”
That was the first “classic quartet” title for Impulse, right?
That’s right. And using kind of a modal concept for improvisation. Then, from that point on, is when I started to open up and started really listening.”
And here’s Cecil Taylor’s account of his first encounter with Albert, taken from an article on the Jazz Times site, published last year on the occasion of his 83rd birthday:
“While I was in Europe, I got to hear music from György Ligeti, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Pierre Boulez before their music came to America. The third leg of the tour takes place in Copenhagen. Here, Sunny introduced me to the tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler. He tells me, “You should hear me play. I am the best saxophonist you’ve ever heard.” I am not impressed. Albert did not know then that I don’t look for the best saxophonist or the best trumpet player. My standards are different. My musicians play for me. When I see Ayler the next day, he has tears in his eyes. He tells me, “They won‘t let me play.” I said, “You stay right here.” I looked in and this Swedish guy is running the broadcast. He asks me if Ayler is with me and I say, “Yes.” I brought Albert on stage with us. That man could play. When I heard him, he sounded better than John Coltrane. Ayler was technically the most prodigious tenor saxophonist I have ever known. If Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone, no European has ever played like the great black masters of the instrument. After the broadcast in Copenhagen, John Coltrane, who also performed on the TV show with his band, was there and he offered to drive me back to the hotel. He told me that he saw me with Jimmy Lyons and Sunny Murray at Take 3. He told me, “When I heard you at Take 3, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I did not know that three men who make so much music.” Then he asked him, “Who was that tenor player up on stage with you?” It was Albert Ayler. He had told me that Sonny Rollins and Eric Dolphy first discovered him. Albert had a brother Donald who played the trumpet. I found out that Donald had a way of playing all the notes condensed into one octave. Man, the brilliance of that funkin’ sound. Well, Sunny took an instant liking to Albert, and he brought Albert on tour with him the following year. Albert played a few shows with me, Jimmy and Sunny at the Five Spot and Take 3 in 1963. Our recording of the track “Four” from the broadcast in Copenhagen is on Albert’s box set (Holy Ghost: Rare and Unissued Recordings (1962 – 1970)."
"The last concert I did with Albert Ayler was at the Philharmonic Hall in New York City’s Lincoln Center on New Year’s Eve 1963. You know, what’s interesting about that show is that two white college students produced that event and rented Lincoln Center for the concert. The hall was renamed the Alice Tully Hall in 1973. ... ”
Bird Notes 2
I wish I’d found this one because it is something special. A while back I mentioned Mats Gustafsson’s Discaholic Corner with its page about Ayler’s first LP, Something Different!!!! (later known as The First Recordings). Now he’s got a copy of Something Different!!!! Volume 2, which, although far from being Ayler’s greatest recording, is definitely the rarest. Full details on Discaholic Corner, but here are the covers: