Monday, January 24, 2011

Tribute To Albert Ayler - Live at The Dynamo

(Futura Marge, 2009)

Just read the first time about this record on JazzMagazine (a beautiful issue, with a long, relaxed interview with Cecil Taylor) a year and a half ago. It was a tiepid Sunday morning, Hamid Drake and his Bindu Project would have enlightened the end of the week with a gorgeous concert in Milano ... reggaeology, baby, that's the matter!

Didn't seek for that record, because of many others, but last Saturday finally I got it. I'd really put my hand on fire for those guys, since Roy Campbell played on Spiritual Unity group, with Marc Ribot, Henry Grimes and Chad Taylor, and, finally, because Joe McPhee played with Don Ayler, Albert's brother and you can really hear the Holy Ghost coming out of his mouth right into his tenor saxophone. Wiliam Parker is on bass (yet involved in Peter Broetzmann's tribute to Ayler, Die Like A Dog). Drummer is Warren Smith, member of Max Roach's M'Boom, contributor to Tony William's Lifetime, Julius Hemphill, Muhal Richard Abrams and many others.

Music is the Healing Force of the Universe, wrote Albert Ayler. The lyrics are played without sounds, since Ayler was an inspired poet and his latest records, often underrated because he was bringing his vision back to popular roots (r'n'b, funky) so that lots of people at the time wasn't acknowledging him and his pals as true innovators. But is' a matter of fact that records like New Grass, though sinked into a less improvisational environment, are as good and genuine as their inspired author. 

But Ayler music is related to Truth is Marching In, so in this record there are a couple of pieces directly related to his ethics: Mantu, a tribute to Miriam Makeba (flamboiantly relaxed, groovy and positive), and Obama's Victory Shout, that fades directly into one of Ayler's anthems. Anthemic Prophet John, written by Ayler brother and dedicated to John Coltrane (the Father of free spirit) is powerful as the version I heard on Revenant's Holy Ghost box, and then back again to Universal Indians, another Albert's last period tune.

Recorded during 2008's  Banlieues Bleues Festival, this CD is accompanied by a beautiful booklet with photos of the event and an interview with the musicians, conducted by Jazz Sociality class students taught by Alexandre Pierrepont at Science-Po (Paris), available in its entirety at

Personnel: Joe McPhee-tenor sax, pocket trumpet, voice; Roy Campbell-trumpet, pocket trumpet, bamboo flute, recorder, voice; William Parker-bass, voice; Warren Smith-voice, percussion, drums.

Track Listing: 1. Music Is The Healing Force Fo The Universe 6:31; 2. Muntu 15:19; 3. Obama Victory Shoutout 13:50; 4. DC 16:51; 5. Prophet John 15:05; 6. Universal Indians 6:40 

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