Albert Ayler’s Last Album (Impulse, 1970)
This record was released posthumously after Ayler’s body was dragged from the East River – the crime (if it wasn’t suicide as the police allege) was never solved. Albert Ayler was one of the most controversial avant-garde jazz musicians in history, and in an ironic twist, there was a backlash against his final LP’s which came inside a little bit, experimenting with vocals, rock and r&b. Still he kept the raw edge in his saxophone playing right up the end.
There’s a little bit of everything here – solo bagpipes, electric guitar, and Mary Maria’s vocals. It’s a mixed bag, sure to displease the die hard free-jazz fan, but for those who have followed Ayler’s career and collected his music, it makes for a fascinating “what might have been.”