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June 1 2018
Suite for the End of the Earth
is the rather jolly title (sorry, I’ve been reading a lot of P. G. Wodehouse lately - well it’s my way of coping) of a new album from The Oddyssey Quartet - which features Bill Folwell on bass.
Bill Folwell sent me this note about the band: “I just can’t get him out of system so in a group with a tribute.” Which was followed up by a load of information from the group’s guitarist, Rex Shepherd:
There’s also this on Rex’s website (along with the first track from what must be the first concept album inspired by Albert Ayler):
“A sci-fi space travel adventure starring Albert Ayler
This music tells the story of unchecked greed and willful ignorance leading to the destruction of our home, Earth. As the fog of avarice begins to lift and they behold the destruction they have wrought, humans again embrace the faculty that separates them from their animal cousins - reason - and begin the task of creating the technology that will save the human race and enable them to settle on a new planet. Having built the transport, the travelers begin the long journey to their new planet. Along the way they begin to experience the disorienting vastness of space, and speed, and more space, and they come to the realization of the pettiness of their shortsighted desires and discover the truth that all things are connected, built from the same ancient atoms. Circling their new home planet and preparing for arrival, they attempt to orient themselves to the new view and prepare for a new life. Upon leaving the ship for the first time the travelers discover that they were never alone in space, their new planet is already inhabited - Albert Ayler, and many others who had already reached beyond the boundaries of time and space in their lives, were waiting to welcome the travelers. The story ends with a celebration and a march in Albert's honor. This music is dedicated to the memory and spirit of Albert Ayler, and many others, who continue to inspire us to reach for a place without limitations.”
As mentioned above the album is due for release on July 13th. In the meantime, if you want to know everything about Bill Folwell’s long and varied career (and not just his stint with Albert Ayler, from the 1966 European tour to the late Impulses) then check out the 2007 interview with Ben Young on the Interviews page.
Ok, this is a weird one, spotted by Dirk Goedeking.:
Released on the jazzwerkstatt label (JW199) this is a 2CD box set coupling the Peter Brötzmann Die Like A Dog Quartet’s 1994 album, Fragments Of Music, Life And Death Of Albert Ayler with the 1990 release on the Jazz Door label of Live At Slugs Saloon, under the title of In Memory Of Albert Ayler - although for some reason the (mis)title has been changed again to Music Is The Healing Force Of The Universe. The blurb for the CD on jazzwerkstatt’s site is Peter Brötzmann’s sleevenotes for the Jazz Door release, and to confuse matters further the ‘original’ covers are also on display:
Although, in fairness, it should be pointed out that the cover of the Jazz Door version caught Albert when he was looking the other way:
And of course I also have to point out that this is not the complete version of Slug’s - it’s the original 4 track version, originally released as two separate LPs on the Italian Base label when it was distributing the ESP catalog. The fifth track, ‘Initiation’, is on the ESP version of Slug’s (currently only available as a download - shame!) and, of course, you should avoid the Lone Hill Complete Live At Slug’s Saloon CD because it isn’t. Finally, as I’ve mentioned before, it was the confusion caused by the Jazz Door and Magic Music releases of Slug’s (my mate Clive bought both then realised they were the same) that led to my doing this site.
I’ve also mentioned this several times before - that the first name I ever typed into a search engine was “Albert Ayler” and the only site that came up was the Jeff Schwartz biography. And, further, that when I decided to start this site, that book was invaluable to me. Now he’s written another one:
Published by Routledge on the 23rd May, Free Jazz: A Research and Information Guide is one of those academic works of reference (which means it’s expensive - £115 for the hardback, £29.60 for the kindle edition) and is essentially a guide for those involved in research in the field of ‘Free Jazz Studies’. To quote the publisher:
“Free Jazz: A Research and Information Guide offers carefully selected and annotated sources on free jazz, with comprehensive coverage of English-language academic books, journal articles, and dissertations, and selective coverage of trade books, popular periodicals, documentary films, scores, Masters’ theses, online texts, and materials in other languages. Free Jazz will be a major reference tool for students, faculty, librarians, artists, scholars, critics, and serious fans navigating this literature.”
Previews are available on amazon and google and they give a good idea of both the scope of the book and also the tremendous amount of work which Jeff Schwartz has put into it.
The Third Annual Albert Ayler Award
Steve Tintweiss has announced that the third recipient of his Albert Ayler Award, which is presented to a Graduating Master of Music in Jazz Studies at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, New York, is the saxophonist, Pana Topoonyanont.
Once Upon A Time In Paris
Longtime contributor to this site, Pierre Crépon, has an article in the latest issue of Wire(No. 412, June 2018) about the influence of Gérard and Odile Terronès on the avant-garde jazz scene in Paris in the 1960s and 70s. To accompany it Pierre has compiled a playlist of tracks on the Wire site, with the following explanation:
“This selection offers glimpses of a tiny fraction of the music the modern jazz enthusiast could have heard pushing the door of the clubs operated by Gérard and Odile Terronès in Paris a few decades ago,” says Pierre Crépon. “Echoes of the goings-on at The Gill’s Club (tracks 1–5), below ground in the Marais, as the 1960s were turning into the 70s: a Mal Waldron composition dedicated to the club, a Barre Phillips recording on location which would launch Futura Records, and more deep piano music, from François Tusques. The featured Tusques composition was recorded solo at his home in 1970 for Futura, released on Piano Dazibao, one of the very first solo piano free jazz LPs.
“During the late 1970s, inside a sports and leisure complex in what is today Paris’s Chinatown, at a bar named The Totem (6–10), the jazz afficionado could have heard Bobby Few, listened to Frank Wright playing the blues, wandered about dancing to Willem Breuker’s Kollektief or pondered about the uniqueness of Raymond Boni and Gérard Marais's guitar duet, recorded there for Marge Records, the label Terronès had created in 1975.
“A few years and a new regime later, in 1981–82, taking the RER to La Défense to visit Jazz Unité (11–15) would have led to Sam Rivers's groove-based quartet, Abbey Lincoln singing with Archie Shepp, or to, yet again, Mal Waldron and François Tusques. Some musics are seemingly inexhaustible. Waldron duets with South African bassist Johnny Dyani at Jazz Unité, Tusques’s Intercommunal Free Dance Music Orchestra plays Mingus’s classic “Fables Of Faubus”, a recording issued in tribute to Guinean saxophonist Jo Maka, whose memory was also honoured at the club. Because the life of a club is also made of many one-off events – and because good music is good music – this selection concludes with a coda, a version of Little Willie John’s "Fever" by Lee Rozie’s Afro Algonquin, recorded a year before the band's appearance at Jazz Unité.”
More in Print
The New Yorker has an interview with Carla Bley by Ethan Iverson - ‘A Lifetime Of Carla Bley’. It includes the following mention of Albert Ayler:
‘Bley was a radical, but she also sought structure. She told me about the early-sixties avant-garde: “In free playing, everybody played as loud as they could and as fast as they could and as high as they could. I liked them, but there was also what Max Gordon said about a bunch of guys screaming their heads off: ‘Call the pound.’ I think the music needed a setting. Just as it was, I thought free jazz needed work.” A key turned in the lock when Bley heard the roiling, church-inspired experimental tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler, who she says was, “Maudlin! Maudlin in the most wonderful way. He gave me license to play something that was really corny and love it.”’
The Quietus has an interview with Idris Ackamoor by Sean Kitching - ‘The Strange World of... Adris Ackamoor’. Back in August 2016 I mentioned another interview with Ackamoor, that time on a German site, so this one’s in English and he is a fascinating character - although perhaps his connection to Albert Ayler is one step removed, his real connection being with Charles Tyler.
Bklyner.com has an article by Chris Farrell about Jeff Lederer’s ‘Shakers n’ Bakers’ project and their new CD - revisiting Ayler’s late Impulse period - Heart Love (mentioned here a couple of months ago). Downbeat also gave the album a good review, saying:
“Where the soul-style grooves on New Grass often sound unfocused or under-rehearsed, Lederer’s ensemble delivers its gospel-inflected exuberance with the snap and precision of a practiced show band. On “Everybody’s Movin’,” for instance, Allison Miller’s drumming puts the pedal to the metal, while still maintaining enough polyrhythmic complexity to fuel paint-peeling solos by Lederer and baritone saxophonist Lisa Parrott, while Lederer’s rearrangement of “Heart Love” conjures a sort of free-jazz Motown sound that’s far closer to the premise of New Grass than what Ayler got on vinyl.”
A medley of sorts
The monthly youtube roundup brings, inevitably, another version of ‘Ghosts’, this time by the 4th Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra, recorded on 19th May at the Drunken Unicorn in Atlanta, and ‘Music Is The Healing Force Of The Universe’ by the Visionary Youth Orchestra with Dave Burrell, recorded on 26th May. Then, one to keep me awake at nights, a version of Ayler’s ‘The Wizard’ by Flatland, an unreleased track from their album, Origin of Species - so if there’s no other Ayler connection to the album, does it get listed on the Versions page? I think I just heard a tree falling. Anyway, finally, here’s Dart Echo with a medley of Ayler tunes (complete with walking women).