Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Albert Ayler - New York Eye and Ear Control Revisited (ezz-thetics, 2021)

This is one of saxophonist Albert Ayler's most interesting, yet often ignored albums. Creating two lengthy free improvisations performed without a previously designed theme, this is created akin to the way they European free improvisation would begin to branch off from the more African American free jazz. Ayler has a pretty extraordinary band along with him in this endeavor with Don Cherry on trumpet, John Tchicai on alto saxophone, Roswell Rudd on trombone, Gary Peacock on bass and Sunny Murray on drums. The music was performed to accompany an experimental film directed by Michael Snow, and after a brief opening statement by Cherry called "Don's Dawn," the full band dives right into the action on the twenty minute long "AY." While the sound can be particularly ferocious, there are moments of sublime calm, where Peacock's bowed bass meets probing drums, and sections where the brass and reeds truly soar. Sections of free cacophony are thrilling, be also are the give and take and sharing of space that develop between the members of the band. "ITT" consists of a wild core Ayler free improvisation with squalls of saxophone alto and tenor, stark raw Ayler tenor saxophone thundering at his most extreme along side powerful Murray percussion. When Ayler steps aside, it becomes a more nimble group less excessive, waxing and waning, dynamic and unpredictable. Interactive play and using gradations of sound, like light and shade, with the whole band working well despite little preparation. For an ad hoc session where the director was originally interested in  “buying a half an hour” of music, things turned out pretty well, all things considered. The musicians were locked in, and made the most of the freedom that was given to them, playing with intensity and comradeship, creating memorable music in the process. New York Eye and Ear Control Revisited - squidco

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