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Ayler, Albert Quintet 1966:  Paris & Stockholm. Revisited [2 CDs] (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler's 1966 quintet brought a unique orchestration to his music, heard in these live performances in Berlin, Lörrach, Paris & Stockholm in November of 1966, four concerts presented chronologically as performed with the exemplary playing of brother Donald Ayler on trumpet, Michel Samson on violin, William Folwell on bass, and Beaver Harris on drums.
 

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UPC: 752156111726

Label: ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd
Catalog ID: ezz-thetics 1117
Squidco Product Code: 29966

Format: 2 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
CD1, tracks 1 to 4 recorded live at Philharmonie Berlin, Jazzfestival, on November 3rd, 1966 by WDR; CD1, tracks 5-9 record live in Lorrach, Germany, November 7th, 1966, by South Western German Radio Network.

CD2, tracks 1 to 3 recorded live at Salle Pleyel, at the Paris Jazz Festival, on November 13th, 1966, by Radio France. CD2, tracks 4-7 recorded live, at Konsert-huset, in Stockholm, Sweden, on November 10th, 1966, by Swedish Radio Ltd.


Personnel:

Albert Ayler-tenor saxophone

Donald Ayler-trumpet

Michel Samson-violin

William Folwell-bass

Beaver Harris-drums

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Artist Biographies:

"Albert Ayler (born July 13, 1936 - November 25, 1970) was an American avant-garde jazz saxophonist, singer and composer.

After early experience playing R&B and bebop, Ayler began recording music during the free jazz era of the 1960s. However, some critics argue that while Ayler's style is undeniably original and unorthodox, it does not adhere to the generally accepted critical understanding of free jazz. In fact, Ayler's style is difficult to categorize in any way, and it evoked incredibly strong and disparate reactions from critics and fans alike. His innovations have inspired subsequent jazz musicians.

His trio and quartet records of 1964, such as Spiritual Unity and The Hilversum Session, show him advancing the improvisational notions of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman into abstract realms where whole timbre, and not just mainly harmony with melody, is the music's backbone. His ecstatic music of 1965 and 1966, such as "Spirits Rejoice" and "Truth Is Marching In", has been compared by critics to the sound of a brass band, and involved simple, march-like themes which alternated with wild group improvisations and were regarded as retrieving jazz's pre-Louis Armstrong roots.

Early life and career

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Ayler was first taught alto saxophone by his father Edward, who was a semiprofessional saxophonist and violinist. Edward and Albert played alto saxophone duets in church and often listened to jazz records together, including swing era jazz and then-new bop albums. Ayler's upbringing in the church had a great impact on his life and music, and much of his music can be understood as an attempt to express his spirituality, including the aptly titled Spiritual Unity, and his album of spirituals, Goin' Home, which features "meandering" solos that are meant to be treated as meditations on sacred texts, and at some points as "speaking in tongues" with his saxophone. Ayler's experience in the church and exposure to swing jazz artists also impacted his sound: his wide vibrato was similar to that of gospel saxophonists, who sought a more vocal-like sound with their instruments, and to that of brass players in New Orleans swing bands.

Ayler attended John Adams High School on Cleveland's East Side, and graduated in 1954 at the age of 18. He later studied at the Academy of Music in Cleveland with jazz saxophonist Benny Miller. Ayler also played the oboe in high school. As a teenager, Ayler's understanding of bebop style and mastery of standard repertoire earned him the nickname of "Little Bird", after Charlie "Bird" Parker, in the small Cleveland jazz scene.

In 1952, at the age of 16, Ayler began playing bar-walking, honking, R&B-style tenor with blues singer and harmonica player Little Walter, spending two summer vacations with Walter's band. In 1958, after graduating from high school, Ayler joined the United States Army, where he switched from alto to tenor sax and jammed with other enlisted musicians, including tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine. Ayler also played in the regiment band, along with future composer Harold Budd. In 1959 he was stationed in France, where he was further exposed to the martial music that would be a core influence on his later work. After his discharge from the army, Ayler tried to find work in Los Angeles and Cleveland, but his increasingly iconoclastic playing, which had moved away from traditional harmony, was not welcomed by traditionalists.

Ayler relocated to Sweden in 1962, where his recording career began, leading Swedish and Danish groups on radio sessions, and jamming as an unpaid member of Cecil Taylor's band in the winter of 1962-63. (Long-rumored tapes of Ayler performing with Taylor's group were released by Revenant Records in 2004, as part of a 10-CD set.) The album My Name Is Albert Ayler is a session of standards recorded for a Copenhagen radio station with local musicians including Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and drummer Ronnie Gardiner, with Ayler playing tenor and soprano on tracks such as "Summertime".Early recording career

In 1963, Ayler returned to the US and settled in New York City, where he continued to develop his personal style and occasionally played alongside free jazz pianist Cecil Taylor. 1964 was the most well-documented year of Ayler's career, during which he recorded many albums, the first of which was Witches and Devils in March of that year. Ayler also began his rich relationship with ESP-Disk Records in 1964, recording his breakthrough album (and ESP's very first jazz album) Spiritual Unity for the then-fledgling record label. ESP-Disk came to play an integral role in recording and disseminating free jazz. Spiritual Unity featured the trio that Ayler had just assembled that summer, including bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Sunny Murray. The liner notes of Spiritual Unity include a brief description of the musicians on that day, July 10, 1964, in the Variety Arts Recording Studio.

Just before 1 PM, Sunny Murray arrived, a large, genial walrus....Gary Peacock was next, tall, thin, ascetic looking, and soft spoken....Albert Ayler was last, small, wary, and laconic.

On July 17, 1964 the members of this trio, along with trumpet player Don Cherry, alto saxophonist John Tchicai, and trombonist Roswell Rudd, collaborated in recording New York Eye and Ear Control, a freely improvised soundtrack to Canadian artist and filmmaker Michael Snow's film of the same name. During this time, Ayler began to garner some attention from critics, although he was not able to foster much of a fan following. However, later in 1964, Ayler, Peacock, Murray, and Cherry were invited to travel to Europe for a brief Scandinavian tour, which too yielded some new recordings, including The Copenhagen Tapes, Vibrations, and The Hilversum Session.

Ayler recorded Bells on May 1, 1965. It is a ferociously-paced 20-minute improvisation featuring his signature military-march influenced melodies. Spirits Rejoice was recorded on September 23, 1965 at Judson Hall in New York City, and features a much larger band than the sparse trio of his earlier album Spiritual Unity. The Encyclopedia of Popular Music describes Spirits Rejoice as a "riotous, hugely emotional and astonishingly creative celebration of the urge to make noise." Both albums feature Albert's brother, trumpet player Donald Ayler, who translated his brother's expansive approach to improvisation to the trumpet. Donald played with Albert until he experienced a debilitating nervous breakdown in 1967.

In 1966 Ayler was signed to Impulse Records at the urging of Coltrane, the label's star attraction at that time. But even on Impulse, Ayler's radically different music never found a sizable audience. Ayler's first set for Impulse was recorded a few weeks before Christmas in 1966, entitled Albert Ayler in Greenwich Village. Ayler performed with his brother, Michel Samson, Beaver Harris, Henry Grimes, and Bill Folwell, and his Coltrane was in attendance. For a tune titled "For John Coltrane," Ayler returned to the alto saxophone for the first time in years.

Ayler first sang on a recording in a version of "Ghosts" performed in Paris in 1966, in which his vocal style was similar that of his saxophone, with an eerie disregard for pitch. Ayler continued to experiment with vocals for the rest of his career. In 1967, John Coltrane died of liver cancer, and Ayler was asked to perform at his iconic funeral. It is said that during his performance, Ayler ripped his saxophone from his mouth at two points: once, to emit a cry of anguish, the other a cry of joy to symbolize his friend and mentor's ascension into heaven.Final years

For the next two and half years Ayler began to move from a mostly improvisatory style to one that focused more closely on compositions. This was largely a result of pressures from Impulse who, unlike ESP-Disk, placed heavier emphasis on accessibility than artistic expression. In 1967 and 1968, Ayler recorded three LPs that featured the lyrics and vocals of his girlfriend Mary Maria Parks and introduced regular chord changes, funky beats, and electronic instruments.

Ayler himself sang on his album New Grass, which hearkened back to his roots in R&B as a teenager. However, this album was remarkably unsuccessful, scorned by Ayler fans and critics alike. Ayler staunchly asserted that he wanted to move in this R&B and rock-and-roll direction, and that he was not simply succumbing to the pressures of Impulse and the popular music of that day, and it is true that Ayler heavily emphasizes the spirituality that seems to define the bulk of his work. New Grass begins with the track "Message from Albert," in which Ayler speaks directly to his listener, explaining that this album was nothing like his ones before it, that was of "a different dimension in [his] life." He claims that, "through meditation, dreams, and visions, [he has] been made a Universal Man, through the power of the Creator..."

In 1968, Ayler submitted an impassioned, rambling open letter to Cricket magazine entitled "To Mr. Jones-I Had a Vision," in which he describes startling apocalyptic spiritual visions. He "saw in a vision the new Earth built by God coming out of Heaven," and implores the readers to share the message of Revelations, insisting that "This is very important. The time is now."

His final album, Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe, featured rock musicians such as Henry Vestine of Canned Heat alongside jazz musicians like pianist Bobby Few. This was a return to his blues-roots with very heavy rock influences, but did feature more of Ayler's signature timbre variations and energetic solos than the unsuccessful New Grass.

In July 1970 Ayler returned to the free jazz idiom for a group of shows in France (including at the Fondation Maeght), but the band he was able to assemble (Call Cobbs, bassist Steve Tintweiss and drummer Allen Blairman) was not regarded as being of the caliber of his earlier groups.

Ayler disappeared on November 5, 1970, and he was found dead in New York City's East River on November 25, a presumed suicide. For some time afterwards, rumors circulated that Ayler had been murdered, with a long standing urban legend that the Mafia tied him to a jukebox. Later, however, Parks would say that Ayler had been depressed and feeling guilty, blaming himself for his brother's problems. She stated that, just before his death, he had several times threatened to kill himself, smashed one of his saxophones over their television set after she tried to dissuade him, then took the Statue of Liberty ferry and jumped off as it neared Liberty Island. He is buried in Highland Park Cemetery in Beachwood, Ohio."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Ayler)
4/21/2021

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Donald Ayler (October 5, 1942 - October 21, 2007) was a jazz trumpeter and younger brother to saxophonist Albert Ayler.

Born in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, he went on to work with his brother in the mid-1960s. In 1967 Donald had what he termed a "nervous breakdown", which affected his brother's life as well. In 1970 his brother's death affected him deeply. After that he did work with a septet in Florence, but remains best known for his connection to Albert.

Donald appears in the documentary film My Name Is Albert Ayler where he talks about his and Albert's life, their music and their relationship. He is also featured in archival footage from concerts in Europe in 1966. The new sequences with him were filmed in Cleveland, Ohio in 2001 and 2002.

Ayler suffered a sudden heart attack on Sunday October 21, 2007, and died at home in Northfield, Ohio."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Ayler)
4/21/2021

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Michel Samson, born in 1944 in Rijswijk, was an American violinist of Dutch origin best known for being a member of the Albert Ayler Quintet. Samson began began studying the violin when he was five years old, receiving a grant from the Dutch Government to study in Germany at the age of 11. After that he studied with Yehudi Menuhin in Rome, where composer Gian-Carlo Menotti arranged a grant for him to study in New York with Ivan Gelamian. He met Albert Ayler in 1966 while performing with the Cleveland Orchestra and joined his band. He also was a professor and violinist in residence at the Farleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.

-Squidco, Ayler.co.uk (http://www.ayler.co.uk/html/interview1.html#samsonjazzwereld)
4/21/2021

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

William Folwell: Jazz bassist. Born May 1, 1939 in Rochester, NY; died on October 2, 2019. 1968: String bassist, vocalist and trumpet player for Ars Nova. Known for the groups Albert Ayler Quintet, Ars Nova, and The Oddyssey Quartet.

-Discogs (https://www.discogs.com/artist/406146-Bill-Folwell)
4/21/2021

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"William Godvin "Beaver" Harris (April 20, 1936 - New York, New York, December 22, 1991) was an American jazz drummer who worked extensively with Archie Shepp.

Harris was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Coming from an athletic family, he played baseball as a teenager for the Kansas City Monarchs (then part of the Negro American League) and was scouted by major league teams Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants.

It was only after he was in the army that he began playing drums. After his national service ended in 1963 he moved to New York City and was encouraged to pursue a musical career by Max Roach. While in New York he worked and/or toured with Marion Brown, Dexter Gordon, Albert Ayler, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Clifford Jordan, Howard Johnson, Sheila Jordan, Lee Konitz, Thelonious Monk, Roswell Rudd, Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, Sonny Stitt, Clark Terry, Chet Baker, Doc Cheatham and Larry Coryell among other musicians.

In addition, Harris founded a "world music" band and called it "The 360 Degree Music Experience". The band included some of the most significant artists of the time, including Buster Williams, Hamiet Bluiett, Don Pullen, Jimmy Garrison, Ron Carter, Ricky Ford, Titos Sompa and many others.

Harris died of prostate cancer in New York at the age of 55. His children, William Godvin Harris III, Verna Harris Vaughn, and Portia Harris."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaver_Harris)
4/21/2021

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:


CD1



1. Truth Is Marching In 7:27

2. Omega (Is The Alpha) 3:51

3. Our Prayer - Truth Is Marching In Our Prayer 4:52

4. Ghosts - Bells 11:32

5. Bells 13:29

6. Prophet 7:05

7. Our Prayer - Spirits Rejoice 6:22

8. Ghosts 3:27

9. Truth Is Marching In 11:13

CD2



1. Ghosts 7:44

2. Spiritual Rebirth - Light In - Darkness - Infinite Spirit 11:01

3. All - Our Prayer - Holy Family 4:47

4. Truth Is Marching In 9:14

5. Omega (Is The Alpha) 10:43

6. Our Prayer - Bells 7:55

7. Infinite Spirit - Japan 4:04
sample the album:








descriptions, reviews, &c.

"In the fall of 1966, Albert Ayler embarked on a European tour with his current quintet. For the first time, the four recorded concerts previously issued by Hat are presented here in one package, in chronological order. The group included his brother, trumpeter Donald Ayler, with whom he worked for years but the other three members were relative newcomers to the ensemble. Beaver Harris, who had played and recorded with Archie Shepp and Marion Brown, took over the drum duties from Ronald Shannon Jackson, while these events seem to have been bassist Bill Folwell's earliest captured performances (he would go on to record with the rock band, Ars Nova and in a few sessions with various blues musicians). But the most intriguing addition to the group is without question the violinist, Michael Sampson, who helps evolve hitherto unheard textures in Ayler's music. Classically trained, Sampson drifted toward avant-garde ideas, working with The Living Theatre performance ensemble in Rome and, in late 1965, joining Ornette Coleman onstage during a concert in Amsterdam. He relocated back to New York later that year, soon visiting Living Theatre member Peter Bergman in Cleveland, where he attended a club performance by Ayler. As he had done with Coleman, Sampson approached Ayler, who invited him to sit in and who was immediately captured by his sound, asking him to rejoin the group for their upcoming booking at Slugs in New York City (years later issued as "At Slug's Saloon", volumes 1 & 2 on several labels). Within a couple of years, however, which included some work with John Handy, Sampson left the jazz world, concentrating instead on Western classical music.

The difference in Ayler's group sound can be heard immediately from the beginning of the material assemble herein, 'Truth Is Marching In', from the Berlin set. The texture is lighter, even creamy, with a wide sonic space opened between violin and tenor saxophone in terms of timbre and the contrast between the ethereality of the strings and the earthbound (though upwards striving), guttural nature of Ayler's horn. The piece also serves to introduce another salient feature of this point in Ayler's development: whereas many musicians paid lip service to the collectivist, non-hierarchical ideas formulated by Coleman and others, to a larger than normal degree, this grouping often manifests as a solo-less ensemble, all the members working simultaneous variations on the hymn-like or marching themes originated by Ayler. Solos occur, but they feel more emergent from the general brewing than cyclic or routine. Sampson gets a few turns more or less on his own and the rest, especially Donald Ayler, are heard soloing now and then, generally briefly, but the brothers are more often found reinforcing the basic melodic lines like a persistent choir. It's often been said that Ayler's playing recalls his roots in the African-American church but this appears not only in his own sounds but also in the "congregational" aspect of his co-musicians, collectively reinforcing and elaborating upon the relative handful of melodies in his repertoire.

In Lörrach, the date which evinces a more standard amount of solo time, the reading of 'Bells' seems to allude to British Isles influence, the strings (both Sampson and Folwell, the latter spending a good portion in all of these sets playing arco), in the role of pipes. The Berlin set seems especially energetic and imaginative, with the strings engaging in a fairly lengthy and probing duet during 'Omega (Is the Alpha)' and the intriguing 'Infinite Spirit/Japan', the latter perhaps verging on a clichéd imagining of traditional Japanese music but nonetheless affecting. In Paris, on the opening 'Ghosts', the tenor and violin seem to inhabit alternate universes, Ayler playing and elaborating on the theme, Sampson up in the ether, flitting and swooping like an escaped songbird-it's a rather amazing sequence. 'Spiritual Rebirth/Light in Darkness/Infinite Spirit' begins pensively, its approach less sure-footed than many of its gospel-drenched brethren, and touches on slightly Spanish sounding material, interrupted briefly by a strutting march before unfolding into more expansive space, more celebratory than martial. Finally, there is 'All/Our Prayer/Holy Family', the initial section heard for the first time in this set of concerts. Like 'Japan', one has the sense of a vaguely imagined turn on some notion of Native American song, complete with (uncredited) vocalizing. It's a little disorienting, but soon segues into the by now familiar 'Our Prayer', soulful and comforting, Donald's trumpet beseeching, his plea answered by the rousing, down-home theme of 'Holy Family'.

This group would remain essentially intact through the first half of 1967, occasionally augmented by others including bassist Alan Silva and drummer Milford Graves but by July, Sampson and Folwell had departed to follow their own muses (Folwell returning briefly in 1968 for the 'New Grass' sessions) and the personnel in Ayler's bands fluctuated for the remainder of his all-too-short career. But these sets certainly document a lofty plateau in his music, unique in many respects and among his most inspirational."-Brian Olewnick, December 5th, 2020

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