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May 20, 2010

"Love Cry" - Albert Ayler

I love this record. It's significant in a number of ways. Here, we observe Don and Albert recording together for the last time. Shortly afterward, Don Ayler was fired from the group. According to a review by Al Campbell, this was under the insistence of the Impulse label. However, the documentary film, My Name Is Albert Ayler, portrayed an awkward relationship brewing between Don, Albert, and Mary Maria Parks; Ayler's girlfriend at the time and up until his death.

This recording session also represents the transition period in which Ayler began a more commercial aesthetic, which was also urged by the label. By no means, did his music ever seem totally commercial, or poppy for that matter, but to an Albert Ayler purest, it's a difference between black and white, night and day, sweet and salty -- you get the point.

For Albert Ayler virgins, it's a great entry point into his music. Sort of a step outside of his normal (or abnormal) ventures. Focusing on the melody of the compositions rather than the intense, volcanic eruptions that spew from his collective improvisations. There's still that feeling of free exploration and in the moment decision making. Really though, we hear how powerful, and beautiful these melodies are. The version of Ghosts really exemplifies this, and is one of my favorite Albert Ayler tracks in my iTunes. Alan Silva and Milford Graves back nicely, offering waves of percussion for Don and Albert to float on, and still maintaining a sophisticated, yet primal marching tone.

The harpsichord performed by Call Cobbs Jr. is hit or miss. I don't mind it myself, but I can understand why others may be put off by it. The harpsichord gives an added texture, but perhaps a piano or an organ would be best suited here. If the harpsichord isn't your bag, no worries, it's only heard on four of the tracks.
1967 - Impulse.
Albert Ayler - vocals, alto & tenor saxophones; Donald Ayler - trumpet; Call Cobbs - harpsichord; Alan Silva - bass; Milford Graves - drums.

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