Live in Greenwich Village
Albert Ayler’s body was found in New York’s East River on November 25, 1970. The tenor saxophonist drowned under circumstances that to this day are still a mystery. Ayler returned from a military stint in 1963 to start what was one of the most misunderstood, innovative careers in jazz history. With the use of screeches, split-tones, and heavy vibrato, like Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane before him, Ayler helped define what free-jazz was. With trumpeter Don Cherry, Ayler released albums that would serve as landmarks for jazz history. When asked if he had any advice on how to listen to his music, Ayler said, “One way not to is to focus on the notes and stuff like that… You have to try and listen to everything together, follow the sound.”
The great thing I noticed while listening to both CDs is that you can hear so many different styles and tempos being used. Separated, they would never seem to fit together, but Ayler takes all of these very different pieces and turns them into complex, yet seamless, pieces of music.
These recordings were compiled from a series of various concert dates and venues in the East Village from the summer of 1967, and prove to be a great piece of recorded live jazz. This double CD set is highly recommended for any fan of free-jazz or anyone wanting to see what it is all about.