August 9, 2010

My name is Albert Ayler

A MidSummer holyGhost :

Albert Ayler was the American free-jazz saxophone pioneer who (as one story goes) claimed that the survival of his mother and his kid brother required a sacrifice, and then drowned himself in New York's East River in 1970, at the age of 34. Other stories suggested he had been shot by the cops, executed by the Mob for a drugs grudge, even weighted down with a jukebox to symbolise all those commercially popular records he had lacked the good sense to make. Some, citing Jimi Hendrix's demise in the same year, believed it was part of a plot against black musicians. But a holy ghost was certainly how Ayler saw himself, saying: "Trane [John Coltrane] was the father. Pharoah [Sanders] was the son. I was the holy ghost."
Ayler was born in Cleveland in 1936. He was taught music by his sax and violin-playing father, toured in R&B bands in his teens, was forced by family economics out of college and into the army, then moved on to the jazz scenes of Cleveland, Stockholm and New York.
 He became a sublime, terrifying, impassioned and uncompromising performer - and such an influence on his mentor John Coltrane, that Coltrane asked that Ayler and Ornette Coleman play at his funeral.
Yet for all his radicalism, Ayler's work eerily recalled the ragged polyphonies, street-march beats, gospel songs and spirituals of the earliest African-American music.
 They called him "Bicycle Horn" in his native Cleveland: the sustained howl and battering ferocity of some of his later improvisations taxed even the sympathetic listener. He didn't have the wider appeal of being idiosyncratically swinging like Coleman, or explicitly evolved from the song form like Coltrane.
Ayler was ahead of his time. Of his music he once said, echoing a sentiment of Thelonious Monk's:
 "If people don't like it now, they will." He was right.
Ayler saw himself as a jazz missionary, revealing a new improvisational path that didn't depend on the chord-changes of The Great American Songbook, but was more like impulsively painting in sound. His playing often resembled the mixture of exultation and terror expressed by the possessed in religious rituals - and Ayler was definitely a man possessed.. ....

 [Un]easy   listening ... Albert Ayler

[Un]easy    watching ... Albert Ayler

infos  about the documentary


  1. listening now :)


  2. Thanks Nauma many thanks I have "albert ayler - 1964 - spiritual unity" if required :)

  3. nothing is required/everything is needed/
    we need beauty and knowledge/
    go ahead dear kokolo/

  4. Well, at first I was under wrong impresion, by what I knew/read about the man before, but now after watching it again and again, I am totaly fascinated with him. Albert was oftenly accused of being conected to drugs, although peole who knew him more closely denied that, but that is not what should be a subject of a life so fertile and so short. Maybe drugs helped his genious to come forth or pushed him into madness that lead to his mysterious and tragic dath, maybe his trips into mysticism deluded him, but there is no question that it was a special soul on a special trip through this world.

    And as for Sun gazing check this:
    get deluted
    reality is reletive anyway