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April 11, 2008

"Slug's Saloon" - Albert Ayler

This is a beautiful set put on by Ayler's band. Often times I prefer his live recordings over his studio sessions because I think the lower produced quality add to the expressiveness of the music, but also because you can really hear more of what Ayler is feeling and how hard he and his band is playing.

Everyone plays here like it may be their last date. Michel Sampson's violin playing is out of this world and creates a wonderful relationship behind Albert's squeling. Ron Jackson frails on the drums giving you an artilary of rhythm and Albert's brother Donald plays like he is going to take off. With many reminders of the themes, the ensemble parts are nearly dead perfect, creating a balance between harmony and free improvising.

My favorite tune is Our Prayer, which Ayler incorporates marching band melodies (which I'm sure he got from his time in the military). He creates wonderful build-ups that are destroyed by controlled-chaotic (if that makes any sense), collective, free expressions. The album also features token composition like Bells, Ghosts, and Truth Is Marching In.

In the documentary, My Name Is Albert Ayler, drummer Sunny Murray stated that Albert "played with love," and that couldn't be more apparent than in these cuts.
1966 - ESP Disk.
Albert Ayler - Tenor Saxophone; Donald Ayler - Trumpet; Ron Jackson - Percussion; Lewis Worrell - Bass; Michael Sampson - Violin.