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Live In Greenwich Village: The Complete Impulse Recordings
Albert Ayler
Live In Greenwich Village: The Complete Impulse Recordings
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #2

These stirring Albert Ayler performances were only sporadically available on LP two decades ago, making them highly sought-after items indeed. This two-CD set presents Ayler's Village Vanguard sets in all their rattling fe...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Albert Ayler
Title: Live In Greenwich Village: The Complete Impulse Recordings
Members Wishing: 6
Total Copies: 0
Label: Grp Records
Original Release Date: 10/6/1998
Release Date: 10/6/1998
Album Type: Live
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Style: Avant Garde & Free Jazz
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPCs: 011105027328, 0011105027328, 0011105227322, 011105227322

Synopsis's Best of 1998
These stirring Albert Ayler performances were only sporadically available on LP two decades ago, making them highly sought-after items indeed. This two-CD set presents Ayler's Village Vanguard sets in all their rattling fervor (with remastering improvements), making 1998 a year when crucial pieces of this avant-garde jazzist's puzzle fell brilliantly into place. If anyone is recording music as fearless and commanding as this in jazz today, they deserve the spotlight. --Andrew Bartlett

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CD Reviews

An ultimately important human achievement
happydogpotatohead | New Orleans, LA USA | 02/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If heavily armed aliens came to Earth and said, "Give us a reason why we should not wipe humans off the face of the planet," I would play them "Angels" from the first disc of this two disc set, and they would leave in shame. It took me a long time to come to a point where I could appreciate Ayler, but this CD, which is among the finest work he ever did, helped a lot. Ayler seemed to believe that every sound that could be made should be a part of music, and this is why he includes "noise" in his playing, along with lightspeed solos, blasts of enormous tonalities, and pure sheets of abstract sound. His melodic statements are simple but played with such force and conviction and such rawness that it demands some sort of reaction from the listener. You will either think you are hearing God's own music or the worst sort of devilish noise; there are no halfway marks with Ayler. This CD set really shows Albert Ayler at his best, combining musical ideas to create the essentially spiritual sound that he heard in his head, a sound that was meant to inspire his listeners to transcendence. This is not easy music to listen to because it violates nearly every rule of not only jazz but music as it is normally played and heard, but it is terribly, terribly important to listen to this music. Why? Because Albert Ayler's music is one of the most pure expressions of the human spirit ever recorded. If you listen to this, I mean really listen, and not try to use it as background music - if you give it your full attention, put aside your preconceptions about what music should or should not be, and open your mind to the sounds on these two CDs, you will be changed. And for the better."
A must (at least for free jazz freaks)!
Gerhard Auer | Leoben, Steiermark Austria | 01/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"PART ONE - FOR THE UNINITIATED: It's hard to judge a recording as extreme as this one merely on musical grounds. This is as far as an overblown saxophone can go; Ayler plays as if he were in trance all the time (maybe he was), even during the long march-like ensemble passages, and then suddenly, without a transition, he burst into his high-pitched trademark squeals - one of the most influential and most exhilarating (for less adventurous souls, probably one of the most ear-deafening) sounds in jazz history. - Not for everyone, that's for sure - people who are quick with the notorious My-5-year-old-child-could-play-this-too comment (which, of course, would be ridiculous in this case) will probably hit the eject button after one minute - but it should on no account be missed by anyone interested in Albert Ayler (or free jazz in general). It`s one of the best examples for his style and - together with his 'Spiritual Unity' - one of the cornerstones of modern jazz.PART TWO - FOR THE SPECIALISTS: 1.) This release combines the originals 'In Greenwich Village' and 'The Village Concerts' and additionally includes the track 'Holy Ghost' (which was included in the LP version of the Various Artists Impulse! record 'The New Wave In Jazz', but not in the CD version) and a previously unreleased duet with an uncredited piano player. 2.) The sound quality is better than usual. 3.) An essential acquisition!"
Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 08/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Live in Greenwich Village: The Complete Impulse! Recordings" brings together two Albert Ayler LPs, "Albert Ayler in Greenwich Village" and the posthumous "The Village Concerts", together with a track released on a compilation and one unreleased piece, all recorded in Greenwich Village in Manhattan between 1965 and 1967. Ayler by this point had totally codefied his music, and was still outside of any commercial influence, and the performances are nothing short of astounding.

These recordings find Ayler surrounded by sympathetic musicians, including his brother Don on trumpet, who totally believe in what he's doing-- the music is largely familiar sounding march themes played in harmony and unison by the two horns, supported more often than not by strings, with drumming abandoning timekeeping and instead coloring the music further. Improvisation is fierce, with both Ayler's reachign far beyond themselves-- their playing is clearly inspired. Honestly, just about everything on here is nothing short of astonishing in its beauty and power. Of particular note is "Truth is Marching In" from the first disc-- swelling as Don states the theme and Ayler plays counter and harmony to him while Michel Samson lays full counterpoint on violin and the rhythm section explodes. Also quite interesting is the piano and tenor duet "Angels" and "For John coltrane", again the only piece featuring Ayler on alto accompanied only by four strings.

The sound on these recordings is fantastic-- crisp, clear, and could have been recorded last year. The liner notes include essays by Nat Hentoff and Robert Palmer written for the original LPs most of this material was released on.

If you're new to Ayler, this may be a good place to start, certainly the performance is brilliant throughout. If you're not new to Ayler, you should probably have a copy of this, the material contained here is essential."