fredag 21 september 2012

Albert Ayler vs Mats Gustavsson via Don Cherry Duh!

Been diggin' on some Albert Ayler records lately and i just thought i'd let you in on the fun. Got the classic "Spiritual Unity". A repress from 2009 on ESP-disk. Don't know if this is still available on the market. This is the Albert Ayler trio in brainfrying form! Everything from the sleeve to the sound is just so cool and perfet this is bound to be a classic and Ayler's playing is just waaay out. It has a diy punk feeling to it that I love. Tough!  Recorded july 10, 1964.
     Just a few months after recording "Spiritual Unity" the trio hooked up with Don Cherry and recorded the amazing "Vibrations" in Copenhagen. I've been looking for this one for a while and recently scored a reissued copy on Arista from 1975 that was in my price range. "Ghosts" is on both these records but every version of every song is always different coming from Ayler. That's free jazz for ya! Cherry pushing and backing Ayler's saxophone with his trumpet works just great and i'll be damned if this isn't a notch above "Spiritual Unity" sans the great sleeve (cuz this one is ugly).
     In the end of his career Albert Ayler tried to fuse his free jazz with gospel, r'n'b and soul influences. Stuff he's played before riding the jazz train. Out came "New Grass" from 1968 where he plays with an electric band. Weird is just the beginning. When it came out Ayler was accused of selling out but listening to it now I can just see it alienating everyone. Electricity and a horn section and the result is interesting although I'm not sure he succeeded with the idea. It grows on you however and being recorded in the late 60s the sound is great. The saxophone is just growling in your headphones. Toot-a-toot! Wish his freejazz stuff would have had that saxophone sound.
It's time to pick another cherry. 44 years later Don Cherry's stepdaughter Neneh Cherry (do the Buffalo Stance!) record an album with Swedish freejazz/punk saxophoneplayer Mats Gustavssons trio the Thing as the Cherry Thing. And what does that have to do with "New Grass"? Well, here comes a fusion (brrrr... hate that word) of freejazz and, for lack of a better description, popular music. And to tell you the truth it works a lot better this time. They run through some originals and covers of Ornette Coleman, the Stooges, Suicide, don Cherry and a couple of others I'm not familiar with. I love this album, especially the beginning of it. The way Mats Gustavsson plays riffs with his saxophone is totally inspiring. This is a world that can do with less virtuosic workout. The version of Suicides "Dream Baby  Dream" hits you right in the heart. I've heard some music from the Thing before and seen them live wich is a very intense experience but this record is where they really matter. a brave move for Neneh Cherry too and she comes out as the winner.

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