His name was Albert Ayler
June 17, 2009 9:25 PM   Subscribe

One of the giants of free jazz, Albert Ayler was also one of the most controversial. His huge tone and wide vibrato were difficult to ignore, and his 1966 group sounded like a runaway New Orleans brass band from 1910. - AllMusic

Albert Ayler's greatest studio recording was Spiritual Unity (1964).
posted by Joe Beese (23 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Played at Coltrane's funeral.
posted by mike_bling at 9:50 PM on June 17, 2009

This is a little thin, but perhaps I only think so because I know who he is and am familiar with his stuff?
posted by edgeways at 9:54 PM on June 17, 2009

His name was Albert Ayler

Well, yeah. . .
posted by Herodios at 10:04 PM on June 17, 2009

The author of this tribute site put up his favorite song . Begging the industry not to demand its removal. I'm glad I listened. You may be too.
posted by el io at 10:31 PM on June 17, 2009

(and there was intrigue, drama: "A 1970 live concert that was documented features him back in top form, but in November 1970, Ayler was found drowned in New York's East River under mysterious circumstances." [allmusic])
posted by el io at 10:35 PM on June 17, 2009

I can't get into the too-chaotic stuff, but I reluctantly tried one of the songs from the mp3 page, and liked it. There was melody, and the noodling wasn't all squonk squonk kablatt etc.

Then, while trying to back up a page by apple-backspace'ing, I threw the mp3 playing in the browser into reverse... and it sounded incredibly fucking AWESOME.

Thanks for this. Thin post about inaccessible music FTaccidentalW!
posted by not_on_display at 10:39 PM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Also (sorry, I'll go away now), his Wikipedia entry may be more comprehensive than the AllMusic link.

(I might be with edgeways in his, as someone who had never heard of him, but am glad I did hear of him).
posted by el io at 10:41 PM on June 17, 2009

Metafilter: All squonk squonk kablatt etc.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:46 PM on June 17, 2009

Your favorite obscure jazz musician is inaccessible and has MP3s on rapidshare.
posted by Pants! at 11:31 PM on June 17, 2009

One of the all time jazz greats !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

he is better than me, better than you, better than your favorite.......
ok, the fawning might be too much, but this guy took the ball and moved it big time.

Vision Fest.
posted by caddis at 11:33 PM on June 17, 2009

You could have at least put up a link to the online biography, or trumpeter Don Cherry's reminiscence of him, or mentioned the ESP-DISK label that first issued his recordings in America, but you didn't.

And although one of his best studio performances was Spiritual Unity, one can't overlook Spirits (aka Witches & Devils, 1964)*, or the live date released as Prophesy which has the most burning ten-minute version of The Wizard ever committed to record. But you didn't.
You did, however mention Albert Ayler without sneering, comparison, derision, or snide mocking, so the thin gravy of this post will be overlooked, and your Gold-foil Star is in the email.

(*-related anecdote/derail: I about ten or so years ago, when I was just getting into Ayler's sound, I managed to get my hands on a barely-played copy of Witches & Devils, an Arista-label reprint from the early 80's(!!), and immediately rushed home to uncork it. My roommate and his wife were home, and let me use the only turntable we had at the time, located in the living room. Now bear in mind, this roommate and I had previously been in a magnificently audacious room-clearing trio of ourselves on guitars plus a very talented drummer, styling ourselves as a slightly more linear Dead C. Well, not more linear, but less brutal. Anyway, the wife was used to noise, harsh noise, gargantuan mind-destroying noise. After about five minutes, or most of the first track on the first side, she asks, "Minus! What the fuck is this? This is fucking scary! What are they playing?"
"Uh, this is..[looks at sleeve]..tenor saxophone, bass, trumpet and drums."
"I can't handle this right now. It's not bad...I just can't handle this. Can you play this when I'm not at home? It's really unsettling."
"Yeah, sure.")
/derail ends

posted by Minus215Cee at 3:43 AM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you want Ayler comprehensive, this is Ayler comprehensive.
posted by OmieWise at 4:33 AM on June 18, 2009

"Trane was the Father, Pharoah was the Son, I was the Holy Ghost."

And he was from Cleveland, and he made those odd would-be crossover albums for Impulse, and Last Exit is this close to being an Ayler tribute band, and, uh, I'm a big fan.

Also, apple-backspace makes mp3s play in reverse? No wonder people love Macs so much.
posted by box at 4:53 AM on June 18, 2009

Are y'all actually exploring that first link? There is quite a bit of content there, imho. Inlcuding a link to the online biography, etc.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:41 AM on June 18, 2009

One of my favorite descriptions of Albert Ayler comes from a New York Times review of the movie His Name is Alber Ayler:
In his time Mr. Ayler was marginalized as a grandiose, spaced-out eccentric who played like Charlie Parker trapped under something heavy.
posted by cobra libre at 6:00 AM on June 18, 2009

Yeah, I'm sorry, but I'm going to chime in on the thinness of this post too. Especially the link to AllMusic which is a group that may have started out well, but is now a corporate asset of Macrovision, the company responsible for providing all sorts of crappy copy protection on music, films and software. But yes, Ayler is worth checking out and some better links have now been provided in the comments above.
posted by Sitegeist at 6:33 AM on June 18, 2009

Listening to Ayler had an enormous impact on me as a teenager in the sixties. I wish I still had his albums...
posted by mareli at 7:45 AM on June 18, 2009

Big fan of the man here.

"Truth is Marching In' from the Live In Greenwich Village set moved me so much I wanted to name my first child Ayler if it was a boy (turned out to be a girl). This was music that seemed full of 'holy madness', crazy but somehow full of religious power at the same time.

I must ask: do you pronounce his last name Ay-ler (as in the Fonz's ayyyy) or Ayl-er (as in ailing)? I've had different people swear that both are correct pronunciation.

Also - it may interest folks to know Ayler also played the bagpipes.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:23 AM on June 18, 2009

Sorry, I mean Ayler as in Al-ler or as in Ay-ler?
posted by stinkycheese at 8:28 AM on June 18, 2009

I've heard Ay-ler and I-ler, myself...
posted by queensissy at 1:08 PM on June 18, 2009

Love this guy. Every time I'm in a record store that stocks used vinyl, I check "Jazz - A" for his out-of-print stuff. Sadly, no... every time.
posted by Rykey at 5:00 PM on June 18, 2009

It's Eye-ler, according to AllAboutJazz's too-brief Jazz Artist Pronunciation Guide.
posted by mediareport at 9:44 PM on June 18, 2009

...and Don Cherry, in Minus215Cee's neat link.
posted by mediareport at 9:46 PM on June 18, 2009

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