ALBERT AYLER - Spiritual Unity (ESP, 1964)
Albert Ayler: tenor saxophone
Gary Peacock: bass
Sunny Murray: drums
01-Ghosts (First variation)
04-Ghosts (Second variation)
1964 proved to be a watershed year for
The first of two versions of "Ghosts barely states the theme before the fun begins. Murray steams the cymbals as Ayler finds every manner of variation, fingers working the keys as primal nerve impulse. When he rests, Peacock briefly runs the baton over unexpected intervals. It's amazing to reflect that he came into his tenure with Ayler after his historic pensive, empathic association with Bill Evans, a polar opposite if ever there was one. Ayler returns for a more complete stating of the theme. The second "Ghosts has Peacock more aggressive in the opening, and during nearly double the length of the first version, Ayler wastes no time reaching for the stars. There must have been a good deal of body English involved as he moved up and back off the mic, blowing the brass off the sax.
The enigmatic theme of "The Wizard sets a roiling improv in motion where the ideal of three playing as one finds realization. Ayler breaks out with jagged-edged multiphonics, taking the tenor on a runaway train ride few would dare attempt. Spirits slows it down as Ayler sings, slides, and slurs the sax through the land of strange beauty that only he inhabited, though others visited. Murray and Peacock relax, working off space, silence, and the beauty of freedom.
The Ayler ESP recordings remain some of the most breathtakingly remarkable music ever captured: original, alien, and as seductively familiar as one's own pulse. (from AAJ)