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Albert Ayler: Ghosts

Album Notes

Personnel: Albert Ayler (tenor saxophone), Don Cherry (trumpet), Gary Peacock (bass), Sunny Murray (drums).

This monumental session was recorded during a European tour in 1964, the same year as the even more seminal SPIRITUAL UNITY on ESP, which also featured bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Sunny Murray. It's a cleaner recording than the ESP release though also a little more distant. Don Cherry makes a fascinating contribution, however. Albert's trumpeter brother Donald Ayler, who eventually joined the ensemble, had little of Cherry's slyness and larger musical concept--he was only there to play Ayler's street noise in real marching band/Salvation Army style. Cherry, fresh from Ornette and Sonny Rollins, is more used to a dancing, glancing interplay with the saxophonist. So the music, while strong, is lighter in texture. Of course, this is still Albert Ayler's concept; he was a thoroughly original 20th-century artist who could enthrall and terrify in the same measure. "Vibrations" itself is like the universe shaking itself down, while "Mothers" strikes an overwhelming mournful note. As on SPIRITUAL UNITY, the neo-Calypso "Ghosts," Ayler's most familar composition, gets two plays here--one short, one longer.



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