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My Name Is Albert Ayler


Swing Low Sweet Spiritual


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February 1 2018


Albert Ayler in the Comics

There’s quite a tradition of Ayler appearing in comics - from Albert in a haunted house in Actuel, through Harvey Pekar, to the Astral Project manga series - and Dean Westerfield is at work on a new one. It seems to be a straightforward biography of Albert and there’s a lot of preliminary sketches and inked panels on Dean’s pages on the PicBon site. This one has the description:

The look you make when they tell you to stop playing that “goddamned bicycle horn music!”


Thanks to Dirk Goedeking for letting me know about that, and he also sent me a link to a new transcription of ‘Truth Is Marching In’ (the In Greenwich Village version) by Victor Aubert.


Die Zukunft der Schönheit

Last March Dirk let me know about a new book by German author, Friedrich Christian Delius, called Albert Ayler oder Die Zukunft der Schönheit (Albert Ayler or The Future of Beauty). I came across a recent interview with the author and it now seems that Albert has been dropped from the title. Also, when I first mentioned it on this site (and added it to the Bibliography) it was only available as an ebook. The hardback version has a new cover, and this is the publisher’s blurb (translated - with apologies - via google):

The Future of Beauty

On 1 May 1966, a young German from the Hessian province gets into a New York jazz club, playing saxophonist Albert Ayler. Distraught, insulted, elated with the most outrageous music of the day, the young man begins to hear the whole disastrous confusion of the present from those sounds, the murder of Kennedy, the Vietnam War, the stock market noise, the black struggle, the student protests. The more he gets involved with the wild music, the closer the budding poet comes to himself, to the suppressed pain of a father conflict sparked by another jazz concert, and to the embarrassing, adolescent beginnings of his writing. Spellbound by Ayler's improvisation sounds, the young man grasps in a clairvoyant association revelation the revolutionary energy that is in alertness and anger. This music makes him feel physically, as destroying and destroying the beginning of all beauty can be and the art becomes the rescuing.

An autobiographical narrative by Friedrich Christian Delius, which evokes the spirit of departure of an entire epoch.”


Heart Love


This is a new CD from Shakers n’ Bakers featuring the songs of Mary Maria and Albert Ayler from the late Impulse period. It’s over ten years ago now that Henry Kaiser embarked on a similar project which resulted in the CD, ‘Healing Force’, which, despite my resistance to Mary Maria’s oeuvre, I did enjoy. The new version mixes such classics as ‘A Man Is Like A Tree’ with selections from one of Ayler’s earliest LPs, Swing Low Sweet Spiritual. The track list is as follows:

1. Message from Mother Ann
2. Everybody's Movin'
3. Oh Love of Life!
4. Deep River
5. Music is the Healing Force of the Universe
6. A Man is Like a Tree
7. Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen
8. New Generation
9. Swing Low Sweet Chariot
10. Goin' Home
11. Heart Love

More information is available on the bandcamp site, including personnel details and the ethos behind the Shakers n’ Bakers band. It’s another project of saxophonist Jeff Lederer, who was also responsible for the Ayler/Sea Shanty mash-up. I especially like the nod to the original opening track of New Grass.


Val Wilmer

Val Wilmer’s seminal book on the Free Jazz movement, As Serious As Your Life, is about to be reprinted by Serpent’s Tail.


It will be out on March 1st and to coincide there’s a documentary about Val Wilmer to be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on March 4th in the Sunday Feature strand. According to a piece on the Wire site:

Percussionist Andrew Cyrille, publisher and broadcaster Margaret Busby, writers Paul Gilroy and Richard Williams (who worked with Val at Melody Maker in 1969), and her brother, the poet Clive Wilmer, are among the contributors to BBC Radio 3’s Sunday Feature: A Portrait Of Val Wilmer, produced by Steve Urquhart. Scheduled to go out on 4 March at 6:45pm (and available via iPlayer after), the broadcast coincides with the republication of As Serious As Your Life, Val's 1977 landmark study of free jazz, featuring a new foreword by Richard Williams.

Val Wilmer has interviewed and photographed some of the most influential figures in jazz, blues and R&B. Just some of the names she has covered since the early 1960s include Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Sun Ra and Albert Ayler, among many others.”

The Wire also hosted an event last July at London’s Cafe Oto, featuring Val Wilmer in conversation with Tony Hetherington, which is available online. Val Wilmer talks about her meeting with Albert and Don Ayler around the 58 minute mark.


Full Mantis

Full Mantis, the new feature-length documentary about Milford Graves, received its world premiere at the Rotterdam Film Festival on 27th January. The film has been made by Jake Meginsky (who has been working on the film since 2004) and Neil Young (not that one - who joined the project in 2015) and a successful kickstarter campaign raised the funds for post-production work. More information is available on the Full Mantis website, and here’s the trailer:


And finally ...


January 1 2018


Sunny Murray (21/9/1936 - 8/12/2017)

I added the news about the death of Sunny Murray to the site on 9th December, but at that time there were only a few obituaries online, so I thought it best to wait until the regular update before posting some of the others. I have to thank Pierre Crépon for providing most of the following links:

The New York Times, The Guardian, Wire (obituary by Phil Freeman, reminiscences by Tony Bevan), Le MondeTrouw, El Pais (translation), Publico (translationWBGO, JazzTimes, Avant Music News, The Free Jazz Collective, Dark Forces Swing Blind Punches, SNES and on 10th December, WKCR devoted 9 hours to a Sunny Murray Memorial Broadcast.

Also, Alan Silva shares his thoughts about Sunny Murray on his youtube channel.


Roswell Rudd (17/11/1935 - 21/12/2017)

December, 2017 also saw the passing of another of the great giants of the Free Jazz movement of the 1960s - the trombonist, Roswell Rudd.


[The New York Art Quartet (photo: Teit Jørgensen, courtesy of Cuneiform Records).]

Roswell Rudd appeared on only one LP alongside Albert Ayler, New York Eye And Ear Control, which was essentially a group improvisation. There are obituaries on the following sites:
The New York Times, Ottawa Citizen, Le Monde, Il Manifesto, WBGO, NEPR and JazzTimes.

It was Kees Hazevoet who first informed me of Roswell Rudd’s death, but a few weeks prior to that Pierre Crépon sent me a link to a podcast on the Burning Ambulance site, which featured what was probably one of the final interviews with Roswell Rudd, recorded in November, 2017. His memories of recording New York Eye And Ear Control occur around the 22 minute mark.


Other Stuff

So, 2018 begins in a rather sombre mood. To lift it, here are a couple of discographical oddities from Dirk Goedeking;

1. A photo of the award to Nuits de la Fondation Maeght from the Japanese magazine, Swing Journal:


2. Photos of the cassettes accompanying the Fabbri Editori ‘Jazz’ partwork published in 1986/87 - Ayler’s Ghosts was number 82:


And finally ...

If you can forgive the vagaries of google translate you might like to read this article by Geir Rakvaag in the Norwegian Dagsavisen who seems to share my fascination with those strange download-only versions of My Name Is Albert Ayler with the multiple titles such as this:


What’s New October- December 2017 is now in the Archives.


This site went online in June 2000. All the previous ‘What’s New’ pages are available below:



If you have any information about Albert Ayler, or any questions or corrections, then please email me, Patrick Regan.


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