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February 1 2024
Not a lot going on
Despite the manic activity in the real world (suddenly there is much talk of a third world war and consternation among the swivel-eyed loonies on GBNews that the new woke generation will all refuse to fight the Russian/Chinese/Moslem hordes as they invade our shores in their tiny dinghies) there’s not a lot happening in the world of Albert Ayler. Luckily I have this month’s email from Dirk Goedeking which includes the following:
‘When I first contacted you, it was because of the one and only sheet music collection on your page. Years later here’s one more transcription: “Spirits” by Lars Larsson, the guy who made the fabulous leadsheet of “Ghosts”.’
Dirk found this on the facebook Ayler Group page - Lars added the following note:
‘Spirits one of many wonderful tunes by Albert Ayler. The four last bars I don’t know if I’ve got it right.’
And another post on the Ayler Group page (from Barry Kermisch) sent us to the ‘fabulous Albert Ayler photo gallery at Heroes of Jazz.’ Which does have a good selection of Ayler photos, although I’m a bit dubious about this one:
Granted, it’s an Aylerish stance, but where’s his beard? And he appears to be wearing a flat cap. Did Albert, renowned as a natty dresser, ever own a flat cap? I wear a flat cap, but I am from the North and it complements my whippet. I think this is another gentleman entire.
Moving on to Dirk’s next ‘sheet music selection’:
‘A glimpse of an obscure transposition for Bb instruments by Oğul Köker from Istanbul: "Too lazy to notate the transposition...", he simply wrote letters below the notes of Larsson's "Ghosts".’
And finally . . .
‘A collage using sheet music by Dikko Faust and Ekkehard Jost (obviously taken from your site), used to promote David Colosi's Clock Tower radio show (What's New, 09-2016).’
‘— against any winter depression: “Ghosts” in a joyous organ version. It belongs to the soundtrack of Shinji Aoyama’s film “Sad Vacation” from 2007.’
And here’s a trailer:
Dirk’s final suggestion went a bit wrong. Here’s the picture:
‘“The Floating Of Albert Ayler” is a tribute by British singer and guitarist Saul Adamczewski. I wonder where he's looking at: Albert floating in the dishes, the coffee machine, ...?’
Saul adds this explanation (seems he’s seen the Kasper Collin film):
‘Albert Ayler jumped into the east river and drowned on the 5th of November 1970. He did this believing it was the only way to save his brother from the mental illness that was destroying him. He also thought that staring into the sun until he went blind would be helpful. So its probably fair to say he was a little odd. either way his music is from another universe and that’s probably where he ended up. So I used samples from his playing to make this piece. A homage to Gavin Bryars’ the sinking of the titanic. I imagine Albert’s music still floating around somewhere in the filthy east river.’
Expectations suitably raised and all agog, I click the link to the music and there’s nothing there. Although I did follow a link to bandcamp and this very scary ‘version’ (maybe not) of ‘Ghosts’ by Silby und Saul.
However, there was another link to ‘The Floating Of Albert Ayler’ (which also didn’t work) on the soundcloud site. That’s a weird site. I searched for ‘Albert Ayler’ and got a load of stuff, including a lot of those ‘Teatime with Albert’ versions of My Name Is Albert Ayler, and things got steadily weirder the further down the list I went. But it did throw up a couple of items worth a mention. This is ‘Albert Ayler Sailaway (Damn These Blues)’ by the Todd Harrold Band. It’s from the album Mr. Whatever, which I’ve had listed on the Tributes page for years but I’d never heard the track till now - it’s worth listening to the lyrics - the infamous jukebox gets a mention.
And then there’s this:
I don’t know whether this is a reaction to all the versions of ‘Ghosts’ out there or it’s just another addition to the crowd. It is available on bandcamp and there’s plenty of videos of the Monks on youtube. As the Legendary Lonnie once said on his Radio Stoke programme after playing a track by Enigma, “I love them monks.” ’nuff said.
The only thing of real merit I've brought to the party (and it has little to do with Albert Ayler) is this item from The Seattle Times. This is for all those people of a certain age who rushed out to buy the BYG double LP sampler, and played the first track on Side 3 and were completely wiped out by the guitar stylings of Sonny Sharrock, and even more by the vocal gymnastics of his wife, Linda. Sonny died in 1994, and this is what happened to Linda.
grahambyrd6012 commented on the above 2 months ago:
'This played at my place of work today. If only I could invent a time machine to go back and destroy this atrocity before it was printed on vinyl. Absolute torture and audible garbage.'
"O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not."
January 1 2024
A Little Late With This One
Happy New Year!
And we begin (in the style to which we’ve become accustomed) with something which should have been mentioned in the November update. Back in July last year I highlighted the Hat Hut release of More Lost Performances Revisited. At the time it was only available as a download from bandcamp, however, on November 3rd it was released on CD.
Dirk Goedeking let me know about a review of the album by Chris May on AllAboutJazz, which made me realise I’d forgotten to mention the CD release. The review includes the following description of the Cecil Taylor track:
‘The earliest track, from 1962, is the surviving audio from a lost film made by Danish television featuring Ayler guesting with the Cecil Taylor trio with alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons and drummer Sunny Murray. The 21:27 track is Taylor's "Four." This is early Ayler and he is at his most raw and primal. The film crew must have wondered what had hit them, and it sounds like even Taylor is slightly taken aback as he follows Ayler's solo with his own. This was 1962 remember. The world was still in b&w, sex had not been invented, and jazz was not meant to frighten the horses, on television anyway. But nobody had told Taylor, much less Ayler.‘
Nice nod there to Philip Larkin, the old curmudgeon. I should also mention that More Lost Performances Revisited’s soulmate, Lost Performances 1966 Revisited, makes it into the list of Uncut’s Best Reissues & Compilations of 2023 at No. 28.
And, while we’re on the subject of end of year lists, Love Cry gets a mention (in a job lot of Blue Note and Impulse! reissues) in John Kelly’s top 10 albums of 2023 on the RTE site.
And, despite Alain Chauvat’s opinion, Emmanuel Clerc’s Albert Ayler: Vibrations, has also won a prize, from L’association Les Ponts Neufs, according to this article from Actualitté:
‘On Monday December 11, 2023, the Les Ponts Neufs association organized its fifteenth dinner at the Voyage de la Samaritaine restaurant, during which it awarded, for the first time, several literary prizes. The main prize was awarded to Dominique Bona for his book Les Partisans (editions Gallimard), a biography of Joseph Kessel and Maurice Druon, emblematic figures of the French Resistance.
During this event, which brought together 150 guests under the large glass roof of La Samaritaine, Edouard Tétreau, president of Ponts Neufs, and Céline Laurens, representing the reading committee, also presented a first book prize to Emmanuel Clerc for Albert Ayler: Vibrations (editions Le Mot et le Reste), a work dedicated to the avant-garde musician.’
Back to Dirk Goedeking:
... who is continuing his search for Ayler-related pet pictures ...
This was accompanied on Instagram by the following:
"Walter and Monty follow me into my listening room and either fall asleep or patiently wait for the noise to end. They are gracious enough to let me take their picture with the album cover of the record I’m listening to at the time."
If you’re a newcomer and wonder what that Ayler LP is, it’s an early French version of My Name Is Albert Ayler on the America label.
... has found someone else with a ‘Ghosts’ obsession ...
Randall Roberts has a piece on Everything Jazz entitled “Haunted by Ghosts: Albert Ayler’s Obsession”, from November 2023, and Dirk fished out another one, from the previous November, on In Sheep’s Clothing Hi-Fi, entitled “Listening to Albert Ayler’s ‘Ghosts’ - many different ways”. The earlier piece includes several illustrations of ‘Ghosts’ - I don’t remember ever seeing this one from Lu Nóbrega:
... and in conclusion ...
“In 2023 an Albert Ayler Xmas is still being celebrated, at least somewhere in Japan.
“And my wish for 2024 is still hidden in Maeght's vaults. While waiting, here's a photo of an original ticket. It’s for Sun Ra’s show, but the Ayler ticket probably looked the same.”
As did the audience.
Two New Releases
Aves Raras by San Leo (“an Italian experimental rock duo”) includes ‘ALAY’, a four minute track dedicated to Albert Ayler. The album is available on bandcamp and there’s a review at Idioteq.
Standards Combustion by the trio of Daunik Lazro, Benjamin Duboc and Mathieu Bec includes versions of ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Mothers’ and is available on bandcamp. Here’s ‘Mothers’ on youtube:
And finally ...
Last month I finally got round to getting a hearing aid for my remaining ‘good’ ear, so this item on youtube does not really concern me but I thought I might as well give it a mention. The ensuing discussion ends with “e suona divinamente bene!” which Mr. Google translates as “and it sounds divinely good!”. ‘Nuff said.