Monday, December 24, 2007

Zero Point - Plays Albert Ayler (Ayler, 2007)

Appropriately enough this tribute to the late free jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler is released on the label that bears his name. Zero Point is a jazz trio based in Mexico City that plays free improv indebted to the open ended trio concept of Ayler's classic Spiritual Unity LP. German Bringas performs on alto and tenor saxophones, Itzam Cano on bass and Gabriel Lauber drums making up the group and they play in the cohesive manner of a well rehearsed trio that is familiar with their material and with each other. That material is a mix of Ayler composed themes, and sections of original free improvisation. There is a lot to recommend here, this is a live recording that has the band performing enthusiastically before a small but sympathetic audience. The band covers material from Alyer's early career, where open ended free jazz met spirituals and folk music themes. For all of his reputation as a fearsome member of the avant garde, Ayler wrote some very memorable melodies like the simple and folkish “Ghosts” which the group uses as a wonderful springboard for performing, especially Lauber's swirling drum patters which recall free legends like Sunny Murray or Rashied Ali. This is a very enjoyable and thoughtful tribute to Albert Ayler, and I hope this band is able to continue with future releases, it would be fascinating to hear what they would make of Ayler's lat period music where he experimented with rock rhythms and R&B. The music of that period is usually reviled, but I have to confess a fondness for it.

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