The Beginnings and Albert Ayler
There was once a time in my young life that I thought I heard everything that music had to offer. This was years ago but it happened. I realized that classic rock (most of it anyway) isn’t that cool, I didn’t like breaking windows like my punk friends, and just about everything else is pretty lame. The truth hit me at an early age. Of course, it was a naïve notion that my mind sent but it lent me motivation in the right direction of discovery: Jazz.
It would take a book to document the glorious transition that occurred. Instead of that I have decided to start this blog that will be my musical diary, kind of an improvisation of topics. There will be album reviews (new releases and classics), show reviews, and everything in between all delving into the madness and beauty of jazz.
My friend Matt from back home, western Massachusetts, burned me a copy of Albert Ayler’s Spiritual Unity and told me that I needed to sit down and listen to this one; it needed special attention. This was months ago and my maturing ears were hardly ready for the explosion that acoustic instruments created. It was one of the hardest listens that I had ever encountered. I laid it to rest for another day to come.
You see the great saxophonist, Ayler, used to be in a military marching band in the early 60s. Once out of service, around 1964, he hit the New York jazz scene that was still coming down hard. His sound incorporated free jazz with the elements of his stint in the marching band. This equation, with all its other ingredients blended in, made for a true original sound that stands the test of time. He inspired the likes of John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman and many other saxophonists in the mid-to-late 60s to lose form and play to a higher being. Ayler once said that his music wasn’t meant to be listened to as a series of notes but as a moving composition that moves from beginning to end. It’s quite brilliant.
Sadly, Ayler died in the early 70s. He was mysteriously found drowned in a NYC river. No one knows if it was a suicide or a murder.