Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The pure Sound from a pure musician
dig-it-the-most | New York | 07/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""My Name Is Albert Ayler", has the pioneer avant garde reed player performing a stunning "Summertime", plus "Green Dolphin St", "Bye Bye Blackbird" on soprano, and "Billies Bounce" with a straight ahead rhythm section. Ayler has a great sound on soprano that may sound like he is blissfully ignorant of the requirements of the music, but I find that in part to be the source of the great joy this recording delivers. As for the chord changes and form, on closer examination, though it seems Ayler may navigate through specific instances via "mind-over-matter", he still has a very good broad sense of the form. He doesn't get lost. The result is childlike play in the best sense of the word."
Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 09/13/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Several months after his first recording session in mid-January 1963, Albert Ayler recorded for a radio broadcast in Copenhagen with a pickup band of the some of the best known Danish musicians. Having one session under his belt and having just played with Cecil Taylor (an experience which Ayler described as finally finding people he could play with), Ayler was determiend to push forth his music. Certainly, playing with a visionary like Taylor, who iss so unrelenting in his music, must have helped. The net result is that on this recording, even with a more sympathetic backing, Ayler sounds in opposition to the rest.
For his part, it's really a continued evolution from "The First Recordings"-- many of Ayler's trademarks are at leat partially present, skirting in-tune as necessary to gain full expression, some overblowing, the beginnings of the wide vibrato he would be so famous for, and some of the harmonic register of the tenor sax all find their way into the music. Ayler's tone is its usual monsterous presentation, fat and agressive, and most importantly, expressive. His backing band on the date though just seems to miss it totally at times. Pianist Niels Bronsted and drummer Ronnie Gardiner don't ever seem to quite figure out what it is Ayler is up to, and while bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson, who was only 16 at the time of this recording, fares much better in meeting Ayler at his own game, one gets the impression that Pederson isn't entirely comfortable with the setting. Still, a virtuoso of his level (even at such a precocious age) finds a way.
As pointed out by another reviewer, perhaps the most interesting piece on here is the spoken introduction by Ayler. Providing a brief biographical sketch with directness and honesty. To hear him talk of feeling free in the Scandanavian countries, and his assertion that "one day, everything will be as it should be" is quite touching, and it really brings home just how much derision Ayler must have experienced at home, whether for his music or his skin color.
The music itself is by and large standards-- mostly material associated with Miles Davis. The standout cut without a doubt is "Summertime"-- Ayler is relentlessly expressive, overpowering at times, speechlike in his cries and grunts and moans, pouring his soul into his horn. Bronsted's solo, while pleasant enough, feels positively lifeless in comparison (it doesn't help that Pederson steals the show from him on accompaniment either). Also well worth a listen is "Billie's Bounce", which finds Ayler playing in a pretty straight hard bop vein and it probably holds together as well as anything else on the record. Still, Ayler's problem communicating with the rhythm section are clear on both "Bye Bye Blackbird" and "On Green Dolphin Street"-- the former finds him wailing away on soprano drifting in and out of key to meet his expression, the latter finds him trying to develop ideas and being reeled back in consistently by the rhythm section (curiously enough, both pieces where Ayler seems constrained feature remarkable arco solos from Pederson, both of which hint at ideas that Ayler was attempting, showing the young bassist the most willing of the backing band). Also of note are codas to both "Billie's Bounce" and "On Green Dolphin Street" that find Ayler stretching for ideas over Pederson (in the former case) and Pederson and Gardiner (in the latter) to great effect. Without the pianist there, even Gardiner seems to meet Ayler halfway.
This is further illustrated on the closing cut, "C.T.", which finds Ayler in a pianoless trio setting, improvising in a freer setting, with both Pederson and Gardiner in close lock with the leader. Both sound a bit unsure at times, and both occasionally think they're moving the way Ayler does only to find themselves stranded, but at other times, they work in such great sympathy with the leader (check out around 4:30 where Ayler picks up the bassists Middle Eastern infused theme and the trio just explodes) that the piece is a reasonable success.
Sonically, this is a good recording-- it was a broadcast and even as an older jazz reissue, it sounds quite good.
Like "The First Recordings", this isn't really essential music in Ayler's catalog, although it is somewhat more successful than the earlier sessions. Those seeking examples of Ayler's early music should first check out "Spiritual Unity" or "Virations" (the latter with Don Cherry), but this does make for a decent listen and the converted will want it."
digital dilettante | London, England United Kingdom | 05/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recorded when tenor saxophonist Ayler was a young GI stationed in Denmark, where he hooked up with some fine local jazz players, this truly landmark free jazz album is as formative and fresh as the day it was recorded in 1963. Ayler's re-interpretation of various standards is a total revelation, with an unprecedented degree of emotional honesty and self-disclosure that's exceedingly rare in recordings generally. "Summertime" alone is worth the price of admission - Ayler's tone is massive/OTT and yet so tender/expressive all at once - and no one could fail to be impressed by the breadth of his musical vision. The relatively "conventional" raw material here allows one to gauge his artistry in a proper perspective, unlike his his largely unfathomable and impenetrable later compositions, which are 100% "out there". I would particularly recommend this album to anyone new to "free jazz" (if not jazz itself) who's considering sampling its wares. A good companion disk is fellow horn player Pharaoh Sanders's 1969 release, "Karma" (available on Amazon), which also features very passionate, lyrical and melodic blowing, especially the recently covered classic "The Creator Has A Master Plan". Expand your earmotional boundaries and get these great disks!!"