“One day, everything will be, as it should be.” home
February 1 2019
Dirk Goedeking found the following video of the reformed UNI Trio from Perry Robinson’s Book Party in New York (probably in 2002) featuring the original line-up of Robinson (clarinet), Bill Folwell (bass) and Tom Price (drums). According to Dirk, “This was their line-up when Albert met Bill in the trio's house in Brooklyn '65. The featured tracks are all from the 60s: ‘Lullaby of the Elements’, ‘Blasting Off’ and ‘Unisphere’.”
"After recording 'Suite for the End of the Earth,' which consisted of composed music, and having only played together as a group a few times, we wanted to see what we would get playing totally free. There was such a good vibe in the room with the four of us that it made playing so easy, the ideas flowed, I could respond to the sounds around me and the natural ebb and flow of conversational music happened. For me it is a spiritual thing, experiencing a wordless connection to others, when the music comes together and reveals the common thread in all of us."
Back in December I mentioned an upcoming release from another of Ayler’s bassists, Steve Tintweiss, and he’s now posted this on the Ayler facebook group:
“Hot off the presses! First release by the Spacelight Band goes on sale January 20th exclusively on Amazon.com for collectors on 45rpm 12” vinyl. Steve Tintweiss originals Whistle Stop/I Lust You Tour b/w Ash Dung Blues Bowl. Featuring Byard Lancaster, Rowan Storm, Ric Frank, Lou Grassi, and Steve Tintweiss From Labor Day Concert 1992 at Forest Park Bandshell.”
Did not play with Albert Ayler - or did he? There’s an intriguing paragraph in an article about a new Dolphy release in TheNew Yorker:
“At the same time, “Musical Prophet” catches Dolphy perched on the edge of a precipice of his own seeking. For all the demanding intellectual organization of his performances, his work always stretched tensely between sound and sense. Not only did he have a distinctive tone on all of his instruments, but his search for his own world of sound was as crucial as his search for notes—and his quest for a sound that was more than one note, or wasn’t necessarily a note at all but perhaps even a shout, a growl, a roar, or a cry, wove throughout his work and occasionally blazed forth in extraordinary outbursts. The musician of the times who most ardently pursued that ideal, Albert Ayler, was also in Europe in 1964, and Dolphy, who had just left Mingus’s band, was planning to join Ayler’s group. But, in West Berlin, in June of that year, he collapsed in a diabetic coma and never emerged. It went undiagnosed: local doctors reportedly assumed that Dolphy, as a black jazz musician, had a drug problem, and never checked his blood sugar. (Dolphy didn’t use drugs; for that matter, he didn’t drink or smoke cigarettes.)”
Steve Tintweiss also noticed it and commented on his facebook page:
“Wonderful article on Eric Dolphy in the New Yorker. Includes link to an extensive Spotify playlist. I didn’t know that Dolphy was set to join Albert Ayler in Europe in 1964 had he survived.”
I was also taken by the opening sentence in Richard Brody’s article, ‘How Eric Dolphy Sparked My Love Of Jazz’:
“I got into jazz because of Dave Brubeck, but jazz got into me because of Eric Dolphy.”
In my case, you’d have to swop Brubeck for Oscar Peterson and Dolphy for Ornette Coleman, but it’s a really neat description of what I believe is a fairly common experience when it comes to jazz.
So, perhaps Richard Koloda knows if there’s any truth to that passing remark about Dolphy planning to join Ayler in 1964. As I’ve been mentioning occasionally since this site went online getting on for 19 years ago (bloody ’ell) Richard has been writing a book about the Ayler brothers. Now he’s in the final stages, going through the tedious business of getting permissions for quotes from other sources, etc. He’s also trying to clear up a few loose ends and posted the following on the Ayler facebook group:
“As many of you know I am tracing down copyright holders to get permission for my bio of Albert Ayler so that a publisher will buy it. Some things I am still looking for, so I hope you can help. (1) In Patti Smith’s bio, Just Kids, she mentions reviewing Ayler records for underground newspapers in New York. I was hoping someone who has access to the New York Public Library could look up the reviews, I can at least add them to my bibliography. (2) I'd like to contact Patti Smith so that I can email her a copy of my manuscript, in the hopes that I can get a blurb that would interest a publisher. (3) I would like to get a copy of the Yellow Springs News to see if there is an advertisement for the Antioch College concert - as well as a review. (4) Anyone who has contacts in Montreal (or can use the LIbrary of Congress) I am looking for an advertisement (and maybe a review) of the 1967 Montreal appearances. Even the Revenant box has only an approximate date (5) I already looked through the 1967 Rochester papers at the Rochester Public Library - and cannot find a reference to the 1967 Rochester appearances. Anyone who can provide a reference? Fortunately I did find a review of the 1970 Springfield Concert - which I am hoping to get copyright clearance to use.”
If you can help Richard with any of the above, let me know and I’ll put you in touch.
A couple of photos
Dirk Goedeking came across these - Don Ayler in Florence in 1981 (photo by Enrico Romero) and an Albert Ayler Impulse flyer - click the pix to make them bigly.
And finally ...
A couple of things from youtube. I don’t usually bother listing albums that turn up on youtube, but this one did come up in an Ayler search and I thought it worth a mention. It’s a compilation from The Wire of tracks from the ESP catalogue, including ‘Ghosts’ from Spiritual Unity, entitled Faith & Power. And the other is this:
January 1 2019
Perry Robinson (17/9/1938 - 2/12/2018)
On 2nd December Perry Robinson passed away at the age of 80. He was one of the few clarinetists to make his mark in the heyday of Free Jazz back in the 60s and early 70s, recording with Archie Shepp and the JCOA among others. Although he never recorded with Albert Ayler, he did meet him in Spain during Albert’s early sojourn in Europe, and he recalled the meeting in his biography, Perry Robinson: The Traveler. There are obituaries at Jazz Times, The Wire and the Free Jazz Collective. There’s also a nice thread on Organissimo and this rather annoying comment on the Perry Robinson facebook page:
“JazzTimes has finally produced an obituary for Perry. The New York Times was aware of his death but chose not to run one.”
I’d like to thank Matt Smiley for letting me add his transcriptions of Albert Ayler tunes to the site. There are 114 pages of various versions of various tunes, which are available to download here as a zipped file. Matt used them for the concert at FoCoMX (at Fort Collins, Colorado) in April 2018, which is available in 3 parts on youtube. Part 1 (which I added here last June), Part 3, and here’s Part 2:
Harlem Hellfighters: James Reese Europe and The Absence Of Ruin
The third part of Jason Moran’s trilogy of multimedia concerts on the subject of Harlem’s jazz history, featuring the pioneer bandleader James Reese Europe received its American premiere at the Kennedy Center on 8th December. There’s an article about the project on the National Public Radio site and further information on youtube, but the reason I mention it here is this bit from the Washington Post review of the concert:
‘Nor was everything about Europe or ragtime. Moran interwove his tribute with meditations on the ruins of Weeksville — the first, long-forgotten settlement of Brooklyn by African American freedmen — and the relative absence of other African American historical structures. Much of this meditation took place on the aforementioned video screen, with stark video of Weeksville’s crumbling houses and abandoned theater, with Moran, Mateen and Waits sitting among them. But about halfway through the program, tenor saxophonist Brian Settles led the ensemble on a slow, haunting rendition of Albert Ayler’s “Ghosts” that highlighted the meditation and abstractly connected it to Europe (via Ayler’s love and use of ragtime and military marches).’
There’s a new Italian trio called Ayler’s Mood, featuring Pasquale Innarella on tenor and soprano sax, Danilo Gallo on bass and Ermanno Baron on drums. There’s a feature on the group on this Italian jazz site.
First of the year
And with apologies to Ronnie Scott.
There’s some strange stuff out there. Dirk Goedeking let me know that those odd mp3 collections from yukiss.ru have now reached No. 6, but they only seem to be available from Japan, so you’re on your own when it comes to negotiating this page. I found a peculiar 6 CD set on a couple of Korean (?) sites:
Forever Jazz Hits comprises various tracks from My Name Is Albert Ayler, Spirits, Goin’ Home, Spiritual Unity, New York Eye And Ear Control, Ghosts (3 tracks then the other three from Vibrations), The Hilversum Session, Spirits Rejoice, In Greenwich Village and a track entitled ‘I’m Determined To Walk With Jesus’ which is listed on the other site as from ‘Live At Riviera’.
A legitimate release, and quite a bargain if you haven’t been collecting jazz albums for 54 years, is Avantgarde-The New Thing in the ‘Milestones of Legends’ series, which contains as one of its 16 albums, Ayler’s The First Recordings Vol. 2. Also good to see the John Lewis Third Stream album, Jazz Abstractions and Jimmy Giuffre’s Western Suite included.
And then there’s this:
Another Dirk find, this one not the usual mp3 download only version of My Name Is Albert Ayler, but a compilation of that, volume 1 of The First Recordings and Spirits.
If you’re still after some real ‘Magic Winter Sounds’ then I’d suggest you try this selection from WGBO, which includes the mash-up of ‘Love Cry’ and ‘Christmas Wrapping’ from Mars Williams’ An Ayler Xmas - Volume 2.
And finally ...
As the Christmas spirit fast departs and over here in embattled little England we deploy gunboats to repel the swarthy foreigners invading our shores - President Trump take note because once you’ve got your wall up, the enemy will find other means to plant his flag on your bit of dirt - we should maybe try to dream ourselves back to happier times and use this as an aide-memoire. David Mittleman sent me the link to a catalogue on boo-hooray.com, where this was item 10. The description is as follows:
“10. Albert Ayler. Untitled Poster.
np: c. 1967. 13 1⁄2 x 19 1⁄2 in. poster, offset litho in color on partially coated stock.
A striking late 1960’s poster, featuring a mirrored image of Ayler playing over a background of pop op dots. No designer is attributed, and Ayler’s name is the only text visible on the poster. Nevertheless, the psychedelic lettering and the stylistic move of putting the photograph of Ayler within a circle is similar to the cover design of the 1967 LP In Greenwich Village on Impulse, which was done by Robert & Barbara Flynn.
Light crease to lower margin, with some toning and a touch of erosion due to insect damage at verso, small abrasions at tips to verso, and a single small pinhole to upper margin. Despite stated faults, the verso is bright and presents well.
Rare: this is the only example of the poster that we have ever seen.”
Not mentioned is the fact that the Ayler/rainbow image was also used on the posters for the concert at New York’s Hotel Diplomat on 28th April, 1968.