“One day, everything will be, as it should be.” home
October 1 2020
New York Eye And Ear Control
Thought I’d start with this, since I don’t think it’ll be around for long. Michael Snow’s experimental film, New York Eye And Ear Control is currently available on youtube.
Gary Peacock (12/5/1935 - 4/9/2020)
I mentioned this on 8th September just after I’d heard the sad news but there are more obituaries online now so here are some. The New York Times and The Washington Post - the latter including the following anecdote to belie Gary Peacock’s usual image as an affable Buddhist:
‘On dozens of recordings, from classic jazz to the far out, Mr. Peacock took pride in being able to fit in and, as he told the Arts Fuse website in 2017, “to be in a particular place that other people can share, enjoy, and feel something.” One musician he refused to join onstage, however, was Elvis Costello, a New Wave rocker of the 1970s who became a genre-crossing singer-songwriter. Invited to perform with Konitz at New York’s Iridium jazz club in 2003, Costello rehearsed his songs with members of Konitz’s band, except for Mr. Peacock. After the two spoke, according to Jazz Times, Costello gathered his music and left the club, which had to explain his absence to irate fans. Mr. Peacock, ever the jazz purist, was heard to say, “I don’t play backup for no rock star.”’
On wbgo.org there’s a 24 minute interview with Gary Peacock and pianist Marc Copland from 2014, discussing their latest recording, Now This. If you don’t have a spare half-hour, I would urge you to check out the five minutes which begins around the 12:40 mark with a memory of Lester Young before segueing into a really nice Albert Ayler story.
And on France Musique there’s an ‘Hommage à Gary Peacock’featuring tracks from Gary Peacock’s extensive career.
The Breath Courses Through Us
After watching the short above, and you’ve got yourself a kia-ora or an orange maid or a tub from the usherette, it’s time for the main feature:The Breath Courses Through Usis Alan Roth’s 2013 documentary about the New York Art Quartet. The film is available on vimeo (thanks to Dirk Goedeking for letting me know) and centres around the band’s 35- year reunion. Of course, the group assembled for New York Eye And Ear Control featured two members of the New York Art Quartet, Roswell Rudd and John Tchicai. More information about the film is available at its website.
Is the second instalment of Pierre Crépon’s feature in the Wire devoted to jazz musicians taking control of the recording and distribution of their work. The article/playlist is introduced by Mutawaf A Shaheed (Albert Ayler’s bassist on the La Cave sessions) who writes:
“Many of these artists concluded these people were never going to stop doing what they do best, that is never stop using the system or racism that they feel has made them successful for centuries. Some artists tried creating their own venues, moving to Europe, setting up their own communities, to have it destroyed by those who knew that if these Blacks were allowed to be left to themselves, they would reap the benefits of their work to the exclusion of the vampires among the oppressor class. Here for the world to see are a few artists who, to some degree, owned their music. Pressure and rejection both serve a purpose, positive and negative.”
Dirk Goedeking found it on Pinterest where it purports to be an ebay listing for a copy of Something Different!!!!!. Like Ozymandias, nothing remains of it on ebay, so, what is it?
My contribution, also from ebay, is this strange indicator of the weirdness of collectors, and, perhaps, an indicator of the collectability of Albert Ayler - although, given that it went for £4.20, maybe we’re not in the realm of the Beatles yet. It is a faulty pressing of Spiritual Unity:
“RARE US EARLY 70s MISPRESSING IN LOVELY SHAPE!! As you can see from the third photo side 1 has a strange mark which looks as if a strand of paper was caught in the press when the disc was made - it has caused The Wizard to be mostly unplayable but is still an interesting mispress - it is definitely not a scratch as the mark sticks out and is not indented!! Sadly there is no sleeve with this one - this was how it came to me as part of a large collection!! HARD TO FIND LIKE THIS!! DON'T MISS OUT!!”
Sadly, I did.
Dirk also sent the following examples of how to display your Albert Ayler collections.
Two from youtube
Erich Hochberg Deep Tones for Peace 2020
Two meditations/improvisations I’ll call 'Ghostly Transitions' as they are based on two of my favorite tunes, ‘Transitions’ by John Coltrane and ‘Ghosts’ by Albert Ayler. Dedicated to my longtime collaborator and friend, saxophonist Mark Colby. Namaste.
And this tribute to drummer, Steve Belger.
I think we’ll leave it there.
September 8 2020
Gary Peacock (12/5/1935 - 4/9/2020)
The final member of the iconic triumvirate which recorded Spiritual Unity has died.
There are obituaries at Pitchfork and NPR, and I will add more in the regular update next month. Of course, it was not only the Ayler Trio that included Gary Peacock, he was also a member of the Ayler/Cherry Quartet, and appeared on New York Eye And Ear Control and Spirits Rejoice. The photo above was taken by Guy Kopelowicz at the recording session for the latter, at which Gary Peacock played alongside fellow bassist Henry Grimes, whom we also lost in April this year.
September 1 2020
Hopefully, anyway. Dirk Goedeking came across the following exchange on twitter:
Beware the Jazz
Also on Kasper Collin’s twitter feed there was this:
Which I may have seen before, but it makes a neat link to an article from Il Manifesto about the 1962 Helsinki Free Jazz Festival, which featured Archie Shepp and Bill Dixon among others. Back in the early days of this site I remember trying to track down a rumour that Albert Ayler had played at that festival and had then toured Russia. The rumour then got more convoluted and the festival was supposed to have been organised by the C.I.A., and Free Jazz had been weaponised. The article, ‘When the USSR became free’, was prompted by the publication of a book about the event, Free Jazz Communism by Sezgin Boynik and Taneli Viitahuhta, published by Rab-Rab Press.
There were two events, one, the ‘8th World Festival of Youth and Students’, sponsored by the Soviet Union, the other, ‘Young America Presents’, organised by the C.I.A. among other spoiler tactics, which featured Jimmy Giuffre (say it ain’t so). Albert Ayler appeared at neither. And, I suppose the real mystery is, why not?
Milford Graves is unwell, but this article in the New York Times describes how he is fighting a diagnosis of amyloid cardiomyopathy. It also mentions an upcoming exhibition devoted to Milford Graves to be held at the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute of Contemporary Art, which will run from 26th September to 24th January 2021 (if we all make it that far).
An Argentinian trio, whose new album, Enero bajo el árbol, features two tracks dedicated to Albert Ayler, ‘La adoracion del sol #1’ and #2. The album is available on bandcamp and youtube and here’s an interview with the band, who look like this:
Is the rather appropriate title of a new album by bassist Matteo Mosolo, which contains a version of ‘Ghosts’ (available on youtube). It’s reviewed on the Rockit site and you can buy it from bandcamp.
And the Italian trio, Ayler’s Mood, are playing at the Parcocittà Arena in Foggia on 3rd September as part of the Prospettive Sonore festival
More from youtube
Dan Phillips plays ‘Spirits’:
And the Matt Smiley Quartet give us two Ayler medleys:
And finally . . .
Coming full circle (I don’t just chuck these things together) Dirk Goedeking sent some photos of where people put their posters of Kasper Collin’s My Name Is Albert Ayler (???) - click on ‘em to make ‘em big: