ALBERT AYLER – Stockholm, Berlin 1966


Any honorable journalist inserts a mention of Albert Ayler’s obscure death in between whatever type of analysis is made of his work. On the contrary, the lingering sensation while listening to this awe-inspiring CD is one of ecstatic delight, a stark contrast with the customary “body-pulled-from-the-East-River” and “progressive-rational-volatility” depictions we’re constantly fed with. In this particular edition – tapes from the 1966 European tour, authorized for publication by the very Ayler estate – the lineup comprises The Brothers (obviously on tenor sax and trumpet) plus violinist Michel Samson, double bassist William Folwell and drummer Beaver Harris. The sentiment of thankfulness that seems to infuse the tunes contained herein is the same that we should direct to every person who allowed us to hear this material. Musicians, relatives and label.

Some of the pieces are offered in diverse renditions, each characterized by a remarkable stance. Still, an essential scheme repeats: theme (usually of a festive mood, halfway through children song and a choral kind of early jazz) then sparse doorways leading to the realm of an ever-consistent ferocious blowout. The lack of complacency belongs to the main features of Ayler’s idiom; the way in which the quintet’s members give their souls to lift up the sonic wholeness is moving. The dual adaptation of “Our Prayer – Truth Is Marching In” is a perfect illustration of an only apparent dichotomy. This line of attack – bursting out the flames of inside turmoil, hiding damage behind exuberance – includes entire lives and thousands of occurrences, events that establish if an existence is worth something; regrettably, the saxophonist had an incorrect idea about his own continuation. Or maybe he was tired – like any individual gifted with extra gears – of wasting precious time with mortals.

No use in pointing at the single instrumentalists, though Donald’s brief solo in the opening segment is just incredible. Believers don’t cross the door of a church thinking to separation, and indeed Stockholm, Berlin 1966 is comparable to a ritual of communion.

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