Legendary saxophonist Albert Ayler recorded this album in 1965 with the phenomenal band of brother Donald Ayler on trumpet, Charles Tyler on alto sax, Sunny Murray on drums, Call Cobbs on harpsichord, and Gary Peacock and Henry Grime on bass, reissued with its original cover.
Catalog ID: ESPDISK 1020LP
Squidco Product Code: 20907
September 23, 1965 at Judson Hall, New York by David Hancock.
Albert Ayler-tenor saxophone
Charles Tyler-alto saxophone
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1. Spirits Rejoice
2. Holy Family
sample the album:
" ESP-Disk's vinyl edition of this classic 1965 blowout by free jazz icon Albert Ayler restores the original front-cover art. 50th Anniversary Remaster from the original tape. On this Judson Hall session (ESP used the empty concert hall as their "studio," its reverberation adding to the bigness of the sound) both Ayler's playing and his new band's sound even more intense than before, the parts of the players sometimes only loosely related. Some defended it as an energetic ensemble style harkening back to the early days of New Orleans jazz in its intertwining of independent lines; it came to be called "energy music" and started a movement that was quickly joined by Frank Wright and that continues in the playing of Charles Gayle, Sabir Mateen, and Peter Brotzmann."ESP-Disk
"Recorded live at New York's Judson Hall in 1965, Spirits Rejoice is one of Albert Ayler's wildest, noisiest albums, partly because it's one of the very few that teams him with another saxophonist, altoist Charles Tyler. It's also one of the earliest recordings to feature Ayler's brother Don playing an amateurish but expressive trumpet, and the ensemble is further expanded by using bassists Henry Grimes and Gary Peacock together on three of the five tracks; plus, the rubato "Angels" finds Ayler interacting with Call Cobbs' harpsichord in an odd, twinkling evocation of the spiritual spheres. Aside from that more spacious reflection, most of the album is given over to furious ensemble interaction and hard-blowing solos that always place in-the-moment passion above standard jazz technique. Freed up by the presence of the trumpet and alto, Ayler's playing concentrates on the rich lower register of his horn and all the honks and growls that go with it; his already thick, huge tone has rarely seemed more monolithic.
Spirits Rejoice also provides an opportunity to hear the sources of Ayler's simple, traditional melodies becoming more eclectic. The nearly 12-minute title track has a pronounced New Orleans marching band feel, switching between two themes reminiscent of a hymn and a hunting bugle call, and the brief "Holy Family" is downright R&B-flavored. "Prophet" touches on a different side of Ayler's old-time march influence, with machine-gun cracks and militaristic cadences from drummer Sunny Murray driving the raggedly energetic ensemble themes. For all its apparent chaos, Spirits Rejoice is often surprisingly pre-arranged -- witness all the careening harmony passages that accompany the theme statements, and the seamless transitions of the title track. Spirits Rejoice is proof that there was an underlying logic even to Ayler's most extreme moments, and that's why it remains a tremendously inspiring recording."-Steve Huey, AllMusic