Personnel: Albert Ayler (tenor saxophone); Sunny Murray (percussion).
Liner Note Author: Dan Morgenstern.
Recording information: Cellar Café, New York City (05/01/1965); Town Hall, New York City (05/01/1965); Cellar Café, New York City (06/14/1964); Town Hall, New York City (06/14/1964).
This 2005 ESP-Disk reissue brings together tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler's first two recordings for the ESP label on one CD, in chronological, but reverse, release order. Prophecy was Ayler's first session with the label, and he was accompanied by bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Sunny Murray. It was recorded in June of 1964 live at the Cellar Café. This is the early period of Ayler exploring his march-time rhythms and gospel melodies that became the frameworks for his particularly iconoclastic vanguard explorations into free improvisation. There are two versions of "Ghosts" here, as well as two of "Spirits" and the title track, tunes that would bear his signature in performance and on other recordings. Bells was originally issued as a one-sided LP consisting of a nearly 20-minute version of the title piece. Recorded in January of 1965, the band had changed to include Lewis Worrell on bass, Charles Tyler on alto saxophone, and Albert's brother Donald Ayler on trumpet. As a package, Bells and Prophecy make for a highly intense, utterly engaging, and even awe-inspiring listen. ~ Thom Jurek
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