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My Name Is Albert Ayler


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October  1 2017


The Claviorganum and the Violin

Usually we don’t get much further back than the 1960s, so it makes a nice change to spend some time in the 17th century.


This (as it says on the cover) is a CD of music from 17th century Italian composers, played by Michel Samson on the violin and his wife, Rebecca, on the claviorganum. And I make no excuses for mentioning it here, especially since I’d never even heard of a claviorganum (a cross between a harpsichord and an organ) until Dirk Goedeking sent me this link. And if you want to know what else Michel Samson is getting up to these days there’s his wife’s blog, The Expat Epicure. And here’s the duo in action:


Gary Peacock

Dirk also sent me a link to the January 2017 edition of The Online Journal of Bass Research which has an 8 part article about Gary Peacock’s contribution to the first track of Spiritual Unity:

‘Revolution in Action: A Motivic Analysis of “Ghosts: First Variation” As performed by Gary Peacock’

by Robert Sabin, Ph.D.

This is a very detailed and serious academic study, which includes transcriptions of the music. Robert Sabin is also a composer and a bass player (he studied with Gary Peacock and the latter was the subject of his Ph.D. thesis) and more information about him and his music is available on his own website.

And, on the man himself, there’s a review of his latest trio CD, Tangents, on the popMATTERS site.

tangentsfrsm tangentsbsm

Beaver Harris, Bill Folwell and the L.S.E. again

Back in the day, I subscribed to Jazz Monthly so missed this article by Alan Barton in the February, 1967 edition of Jazz Journal, but that’s what ebay’s for. The article includes a brief interview with Beaver Harris (and Bill Folwell gets a walk-on part) and it was written around the time of the L.S.E. concert in the previous November.

jjenigmap1thmb jjenigmap2thmb

I also came across this on Steve Voce’s ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing’ page, which I thought I’d share:


Unfortunately the Home Secretary was a Jazz Monthly subscriber and the BBC continued to broadcast the Black and White Minstrel Show until 1978. And finally, one of the delights of old British jazz magazines is the Letters Page.


Creative Healing

I came across an advert for an old concert in Washington DC, by a Boston group called Creative Healing, which had the following blurb:

‘The spiritual and avant-garde jazz pioneer Albert Ayler liked to say “Music is the healing force of the universe.” He liked it so much, in fact, that he used the phrase to title one of his last albums. Ayler, a tenor saxophonist and band leader, wrote creative pieces of deceptive complexity and cacophony. While his band created quite a sound when it played, the melodies he wrote were crafted in the spirit of front-porch folk songs, inviting every listener in to hum along and feel the force of the music in the room. Creative Healing, a five-piece made up of rising voices in Boston’s creative music scene, tries to fulfill Ayler’s vision. In a mix of free form jazz improvisation, noise rock force, and spoken prose, Creative Healing aims to create music that unites audiences in heart and mind. The music may sound discordant and harsh, but just breathe and let it in. You can find the harmony and beauty if you just listen.’

And here they are on youtube:


And another thing I came across

This is from Point of Departure No. 25, from way back in October, 2009. No idea why it’s not popped up before (although maybe it has) but, yet again the L.S.E. concert gets another mention. This is an extract from a round table discussion between Chris Kelsey, Bill Smith (of the Canadian Coda magazine) and Dan Warburton, moderated by Bill Shoemaker. This is a bit of Bill Smith’s contribution:

Shoemaker: Journalism idealizes objectivity; yet so much journalism and criticism about jazz and other forms of experimental is agenda-ridden; the writer has a cause he or she wants to advance through their writing. Bill’s desire to “make the music go forward” encapsulates this well. The problem is that the way ahead shifts over the years. Certainly, the horizon in front of me when I first started writing about music in the late ‘70s is now but a dot in the rear-view mirror. How have your agendas changed over the years, and how are they reflected in both your music and your writing?

Smith: In the latter half of the sixties when I initially imagined a future in music, my living was made firstly in engineering as a draughtsman and then as a photographer for a city magazine, so jazz music was little more than a delightful hobby. Although I had already formed serious opinions regarding the “new” music of Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor – my two favorite pioneers, I was never altogether enamored by John Coltrane, who had already achieved fame with Miles Davis and his own quartets; his music not seeming to be a radical departure.

Once again it’s because of Coda Magazine that I progress to the next stage of American history. Physically assembling the magazine was a social gathering of friends around a table with piles of pages and staple guns. John Norris had an enormous record collection covering two walls of his apartment, and one of the compensations for our work was to choose a recording from his vast selection. Stuart Broomer, at that time a rather precocious young man, chose one of Albert Ayler’s ESP recordings. Two weeks later I headed for New York City to investigate this amazing music. Fortunately he was appearing everywhere: The Astor Playhouse, Slugs, The Dom, and the Lincoln Center as a guest of John Coltrane at the “The Titans of the Tenor” concert. He would become my standard bearer. There was obviously no looking back.

By the end of that decade I had returned to England on an engineering contract and while there again came in contact with Albert’s music; a BBC-TV recording (that was erased and never shown) – which I reviewed in the Melody Maker. On the same journey I hung out with Chris McGregor and the expatriated South Africans in London, and Jeanne Lee, Ran Blake and Don Cherry in Paris. The very same Beuscher tenor saxophone accompanied me on this journey and I was very fortunate to receive casual lessons from Ronnie Beer. A most auspicious entry into the world of the “avant garde”.

Here, forty-odd years on, Albert Ayler is still my guiding light, a joyous ritual in which to regularly luxuriate, my constant connection with the unfolding history that I’ve been privileged to witness. Of course along the way there have been numerous discoveries and musical influences, the likes of Anthony Braxton, Leo Smith, Roscoe Mitchell, Joe McPhee, Evan Parker, Paul Rutherford, the Spontaneous Music Ensemble… the list go on.’


L’Homme Blessé

Last month I put the trailer from L’Homme Blessé on this page, courtesy of Dirk Goedeking. What I forgot to do was add the covers of the soundtrack single, featuring Ayler’s ‘Heart  Love’ which Dirk also sent, with the following note:

‘“Heart Love” is coupled with “Falling Sun” by Rendez-Vous, a 1979 disco number. ... This is Albert’s 6th 7 inch (besides 1. Holy Family/Sadness, 2. Ghosts/Love Flower/Zion Hill, 3. Free At Last/New Ghosts, 4. New Generation /Heart Love and the single sided 5. The Lie). So if you own a jukebox, ...’

lhommeblesse45sm lhommeblesse45bksm

And on youtube . . .

If you want to know what ‘avant-garde’ means, there’s a cartoon lady explaining it and mispronouncing Albert Ayler. If you want a good example, there’s a 2014 concert from Joe McPhee’s Universal Indians. And then there are a couple of versions:

1. ‘Truth Is Marching In’ by the Ensemble of Irreproducible Outcomes.


2. Inevitably, ‘Ghosts’, but since we began in 17th century Italy, it seems fitting to end this month in 16th century England with John Dowland -  both performed by Four Letter Words.


What’s New June - September 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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