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January 1 2020
Will see the 50th anniversary of the death of Albert Ayler in November. It’s also 20 years since I started this website - not sure which is the more sobering thought. Although the amount of Ayler-related ‘news’ seems to diminish as the months go by, there are still recordings and videos which have never been released, and there are also tantalising hints from time to time that there are other items buried in archives just waiting to be unearthed. And, of course, there’s always Richard Koloda’s biography of the Ayler brothers, which contains a lot of new information, just needing a sympathetic publisher. So, maybe we just need to have a little faith and follow the varied paths in the following three items from Dirk Goedeking:
Astral Traveling: The Ecstasy of Spiritual Jazz
An article from the Pitchfork site from 2015, but if I have mentioned it before, blowed if I can find it. Albert’s, or rather, Don’s ‘Our Prayer’ is included in the list.
Shakers ’N’ Bakers
The first CD from Jeff Lederer’s group, Shakers ’N’ Bakers includes a version of Ayler/Parks’ ‘Thank God For Women’. Again, I thought I had this, but all I can find is the second release Heart Love from 2018, which was an all Ayler/Parks affair. Anyway, here it is - both live (starting around 5:37):
And finally, this, which Dirk confessed himself baffled by:
“A simple gif led me to a confusing site dedicated to Albert Ayler. Click on the Spiritual-unity-gif to get to the main page. Maybe you can figure it out. Although I tried hard to understand, it leaves me absolutely clueless.”
Time to move on.
Pierre Crépon sent me a link to an article he’s written for the latest issue of Point of Departure about the Amougies festival of October 1969 that featured Don Cherry, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Archie Shepp and rock groups such as Pink Floyd, the Pretty Things, Colosseum and Ten Years After. Some of the acts were filmed and the films have survived in an archive near Paris. Pierre did tell me there’s no connection with Albert Ayler, but the whole event sounds “far out, man”, so it’s well worth a read. Fragments of the two documentary films, Amougies Music Power and Amougies European Music Revolution are available on youtube, mainly those featuring Frank Zappa (as MC), Captain Beefheart, Pink Floyd and other rock bands. Unfortunately nothing from the free jazz side of things. Further information and a full list of participants at the festival is available here.