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                                         “One day, everything will be, as it should be.”                            home

May  3 2022

Allen Blairman (13/8/1940 - 29/4/2022)

Very sad to report the death of Allen Blairman, the drummer with the Albert Ayler group which performed at the Fondation Maeght in July, 1970. He was much more, of course, but given what I was writing for this site only a couple of days ago, his passing has added poignancy. Born in Pittsburgh, Allen Blairman relocated to Heidelberg, Germany in 1970, which is where he died last Friday at the age of 81. There’s an obituary by Frank Schindelbeck on the German JazzPages site.

allenblairman

May  1 2022

 

Revelations: The Complete ORTF 1970 Fondation Maeght Recordings - First Reviews

newyorkerrevelationsrevpic

The vinyl version of Revelations: The Complete ORTF 1970 Fondation Maeght Recordings (5 LPs) was released for Record Store Day on 23rd April. There are reviews on the following sites: Pitchfork, The New Yorker, DownBeat, Analog Planet. and NPR. There’s also an interview with Zev Feldman, who was responsible for this release, at the Washington Post. There will be more reviews by next month’s update after the release of the CD version. I have added Revelations: The Complete ORTF 1970 Fondation Maeght Recordings to the discography.

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More from Cleveland

and Richard Koloda, who has kindly sent me some more newspaper clippings of the Ayler family and this:

weddingcertthmb

Click the picture for the pdf of Albert Ayler’s application for a marriage licence. The other items (all from the Cleveland Call and Post) are:

30th January, 1965: The announcement of Albert and Arlene’s wedding.

8th June, 1946: ‘Returns From Unveiling of Memorial for Kin’ (a short item about Albert Ayler’s mother and her family).

10th May, 1947: ‘Nellie Thompson Thrills Audience In First Recital At Liberty Hill’ (Nellie Thompson was Edward Ayler’s sister, Albert and Don’s aunt. Note also that she sang ‘Deep River’ in this recital, which is one of the tunes on Swing Low Sweet Spiritual.)

20th August, 1949: ‘To Far East’ (Beatrice Hargrove was Myrtle Ayler’s cousin.)

And here’s those two little scamps at Little Daisy Carr’s birthday party, from the Cleveland Call and Post of 27th September, 1947. Albert is on the back row, second from the right. Don is on the front row, second from the left. Click the picture for the pdf.

littledaisycarrparty

Richard Koloda’s long-awaited book about the Ayler brothers is due to be published in the autumn.

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Free Jazz

Talking of upcoming books, Jeff Schwartz has another one in the pipeline, also due out in the autumn.

schwartzfreejazzbook

If it weren’t for Jeff Schwartz’s online book about Albert Ayler, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. Back in the day it was the only thing that came up about Ayler on the entire world wide web. It gave me the idea for this site and was the basis for much of the information on here in the early days. So now he has a book about Free Jazz, which will be published by Suny Press on 1st October. Here’s the blurb:

‘In the late 1950s, free jazz broke all the rules, liberating musicians both to create completely spontaneous and unplanned performances and to develop unique personal musical systems. This genre emerged alongside the radical changes of the 1960s, particularly the Civil Rights, Black Arts, and Black Power movements. Free Jazz is a new and accessible introduction to this exciting, controversial, and often misunderstood music, drawing on extensive research, close listening, and the author’s experience as a performer. More than a catalog of artists and albums, the book explores the conceptual areas they opened: freedom, spirituality, energy, experimentalism, and self-determination. These are discussed in relation to both the political and artistic currents of the times and to specific musical techniques, explained in language clear to ordinary readers but also useful for musicians.’

And, I’m not sure whether I should mention it, but Jeff added this on his facebook post about the book:

“A more reasonably priced paperback is scheduled for June 2023.”

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Saints

I’ve always questioned whether I was the right person to do this site since my musical knowledge is dire and the closest I get to analysing Albert’s music is saying I like that little laugh he does at the end of ‘Change Has Come’. But, luckily for you, there are people like Sean Wilkie around who can do the important stuff. Prompted by a title change of ‘Saints’ to ‘Prophecy’ on the Hat Hut re-release of Spirits (aka Witches And Devils) in the Revisited series (Albert Ayler Quartets 1964 Spirits To Ghosts Revisited ezz-thetics 1101) Sean has written a piece explaining why he thinks the change shouldn’t have come. It’s on the Spirits Covers page.

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Kasper Collin and other stuff

This from Kasper Collin’s twitter feed (via Dirk Goedeking) in reply to Lavelle Porter asking if My Name Is Albert Ayler will be released:

"Oh, thanks. So glad to hear. Ayler doc is a constant headache. Everytime I’ve said it’s soon to be rereleased I’ve meant it. A great distributor wants to do it this year. It was made in the short but peculiar age of DVCam. Much restoring/upscaling work to make it distributable."

I’ve always thought that the lack of a DVD release of Kasper Collin’s film was down to some legal problem regarding Mary Maria Parks; which was why the Fondation Maeght would not release their Ayler documentary (or so Bernard Stollman told me). This is the first time I’ve heard of technical problems regarding the film. I do wonder, with the release of Revelations with the full approval of the Ayler Estate, whether things have changed recently. Mayhap Maria Maria has joined Albert in the Great Majority. More research needed.

Dirk also sent me the beginning of a review of the Ayler Octet’s performance at the Village Theater from The New York Times of 27th February, 1967:

“The Albert Ayler Octet indicated at a concert at the Village Theater on Saturday night that the jazz avant-garde really does have a song in its heart. However, the song turned out to be rather monotonous—a singsong country jig that served as an ensemble theme on several occasions.”

And here’s the rest of it from the cloth-eared bugger.

And finally Dirk came across this, described as

“back to double bass with a composition I made years ago with multiphonics and various techniques exploding from an albert ayler melody”

ongoncompositionthmb

I like the bit at the end of ‘Change Has Come’ when Albert laughs.

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Apple Music drops 'Defiant Jazz' playlist from hit series 'Severance'

No bloody idea. I merely report these things.

Ben Stiller, who directed most of the first season, said that the playlist “embodies the weird tension under the surface that always exists with the characters.”

“It's genre-busting music, which I hope suits the feeling our show aspires to,” Ben Stiller tells Apple Music of this playlist celebrating the Season 1 finale of his Apple Original series Severance streaming on Apple TV+. The playlist’s title - and its collection of skronky retro and avant-garde jazz selections from artists like Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane, and Albert Ayler - is a reference to the soundtrack for a deeply unsettling office dance party in the seventh episode of the series, which is about data-entry employees at a mysterious company with a chip implanted in their brains that prohibits them from remembering their non-work lives. “We wanted it to reflect the weirdness of the corporate culture,” Stiller says of both the scene and the spirit of the songs found here. “The feel to me of the show is always ‘generic retro.’ It was all very evocative to me of a dance party from the some future ’50s retro-exotica world.”

That skittish mood is exemplified by the playlist’s opening track, “Shakey Jake” by Joe McPhee. “It embodies the weird tension under the surface that always exists with the characters,” Stiller says. “And the saxophone is insane - I don’t know how he gets those sounds. It’s a 13-minute-plus track and the build is amazing. It’s pushing the bounds of the jazz form, almost to an anarchic level.”

The Ayler track is ‘Bells’ from Love Cry.

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Youtube roundup

Back on safe ground. Here’s a drunken man dancing to Bells, and the aforementioned Joe McPhee with Universal Indians in a concert from Bonn from 24th April. No ‘Ghosts’ but here’s ‘Truth Is Marching In’ (would it were so).

 

And, finally, I thought I shouldn’t let this one go, although its relevance to Albert Ayler is tangential, to say the least. It’s a TV programme from 1965 called ‘Jazz: The Experimenters’ featuring the Charles Mingus Workshop and the Cecil Taylor Unit. It’s also got introductions/explanations from the jazz journalist, Martin Williams and the novelist, Ralph Ellison (whose Invisible Man is stuck on a pile behind me).

 

The Ayler connection is just that there’s this item in the Ayler Sessionography which just sits there and intrigues. A concert with Cecil Taylor at New York’s Philharmonic Hall, from New Year’s Eve, 1963, featuring the titles, ‘In Fields’, ‘Octagonal Skirt’ and ‘Fancy Pants’. I removed it from the Unreleased Recordings page long ago, but left it in the Sessionography, with this note:

‘Mike Hames adds the following note about this recording:
“I have been unable to find anyone who can confirm the existence of this tape, though it is conventional to list it.”
The Holy Ghost book follows the convention.’

When I heard Cecil Taylor give two of those titles (or maybe it’s just one ‘Octagonal Skirt And Fancy Pants’) I thought maybe this TV show had been the cause of the confusion, but, now with my trusty subscription to The New York Times I checked for the concert - no review (although the NYT search engine is a bit rubbish) but I did find this advert.

Taylor311263

So, none the wiser really, which neatly sums up my response to Cecil Taylor’s explanation of his own music. I just like that bit at the end of ‘Change Has Come’ where Albert laughs.

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What’s New January to April 2022 is now in the Archives.

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

Archives

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

 

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