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Albert Ayler... any experts?

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,416
Location
brighton by the sea
I've (hopefully) scored another recording session with one of my musical- hero (ines). On one song/piece I've got instructions- do something a bit Albert Ayler. Now i pretty much know what he's about but do we have any Ayler experts here? I've never really studied what he does. Is there anything to look for in his style (OK- I'm going to do some homework on Spotify but is there any underlying 'style'- I'm thinking of the fact that there's actually loads of calypso and R&B underlying Ornette Coleman, even at his wierd-est... does something similar apply to Ayler or are there other things to look out for in his style beyond primal freakout) ..... Before I start my homework does anyone have any thoughts on the king of (more than a little disturbing) free jazz tenor? Saxby, this sounds like yer field.....?
 

Saxby

Member
Messages
90
Location
Warsaw, Poland.
Ah, Mr L of Brigtonia, well as a long term listener of said Mr Ayler of US of A, now sadly departed...I would say the one abiding force within his playing was that of a super wide vibrato, beyond kitch..to the realms of the almost absurd..BUT it made sense...
The use of hard reeds and a wide lay mouthpiece being foremost in enabling this monster sound...Apparently it was / is the shear force of his playing that astounded listeners live. He was not apoligising or being timid with his sax, everything he played he did with amazing intensity, so perhaps bearing that in mind is more important than stylistic techniques - be in the moment of playing, not before or after and play every note as if its your last.
This combined with almost nusery rhyme in their simplicity songs and melodic motiffs produces a haunting and yet almost whistleable set of tunes invariably based on simple pentatonics.
This, and the use of various techniques such as overblowing, growling, pushing the overtones and harmonics, smearing many notes into each other during his intense solos takes this music to the next level - a very physical way of playing.
In fact a number of his compositions are variations on a theme, such as Ghosts (1+2), Spirits, Spirits Rejoice etc...Only when you get to his later albums, when he is using a more Rock n' Blues format..Electric Bass, Rock Drums...his wife as vocalist, which are surprisingly well recorded and accessable do you start to hear a real growth, or perhaps shift, in the direction of his composing..
In fact as part of your research, maybe you should start with his later recordings such as Love Cry 1967, New Grass 1968 and Music is the Healing Force 1970.
My personal favourite has always been Live at the Village Vanguard, which originally had a super psychedelic cover, but in the reissue someone at Impulse did the unforgivable diservice, of having a photograph of a ghastly Plastercine model of Ayler for the cover -( They'll be up against the wall come the revolution..!!) and on this album its his dedication to John Coltrane, surprisingly played on Alto that is quite simply stunning...
For extra research there is a great resource online. The following Link :
http://www.geocities.com/jeff_l_schwartz/ayler.html
Is an amazing online Book about the life and times of Ayler...
and the following is an official site ....
http://www.ayler.org/
Enjoy your research...
Saxby
 
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Jules

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,416
Location
brighton by the sea
Fantastic stuff- time to do my homework for Mrs Dillon (something of an elemental force of nature herself)!
By the way, are you in Poland?
 
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