Sunday, June 10, 2007

HurdAudio Rotation: The Cruel Test of Time

Albert Ayler: Holy Ghost [box set] disc 2. 2002. Revenant Records: RVN 213.

June 14, 1964 set at the Cellar Cafe, New York City
Albert Ayler Trio:
Albert Ayler: tenor saxophone
Gary Peacock: bass
Sunny Murray: drums

September 3, 1964 set at the Cafe Montmartre, Copenhagen, Denmark
Albert Ayler Quartet:
Albert Ayler: tenor saxophone
Don Cherry: trumpet
Gary Peacock: bass
Sunny Murray: drums

February, 1966 set at Slugs', New York City
Burton Greene Quintet:
Burton Greene: piano
Albert Ayler: tenor saxophone
Frank Smith: tenor saxophone
Steve Tintweiss: bass
Rashied Ali: drums

The rhythm section of Gary Peacock and Sunny Murray provides Ayler with an almost tamboura-like drone texture for his soaring sermons on the tenor. And on this Sunday morning I'm hearing this with the ears of a believer. Ayler brings an undiluted - at times unfiltered - expression of the human condition with an unflinching improvisational range. With the addition of Don Cherry on the September, 1964 set there is the addition of a kindred soul to the pulpit.

Brian Auger: Planet Earth Calling. 1981 (re-released in 1987). Garland: GRZ 010.

Studio recording with various combinations of the following:
Brian Auger: hammond organ, yamaha CP 70B, electric grand piano, prophet 5 synthesizer, rhodes electric piano, acoustic piano, miniMoog, cabasa, gogo bells, freeman string dymphoniser, tambourine, vocals, cowbell
Ho Young Kim: guitar
George Doering: guitar
Dave McDaniels: electric bass
Dave Crigger: drums
Steve Evans: electric bass
Tom Donlinger: drums
Terry Baker: drums
Michael Barsimanto: drums
Alex Ligertwood: vocals

The actual cover art for this release is apparently impossible to "unearth" online. Which is a pity, the Grace Jones-like model shrouded in smoke with the late 1970s "computer" font over the front defies any reasonable description - much like the music found on this disc. At times it's a horrific amalgam of progressive rock, disco and smooth jazz archetypes. This music offers a cautionary example of electronic sounds and commercial genres that have not aged well - even when supported by reasonable arrangements and performances. Every so often there are glimpses of the Brian Auger solos I had hoped to find when I picked up this used CD. But this seems to be the wrong vintage for my taste.

Ornette Coleman: The Empty Foxhole. 1966. Blue Note: CDP 7243 8 28982 2 1.

Ornette Coleman: alto saxophone, trumpet, violin
Charlie Haden: bass
Denardo Coleman: drums

If you look at any press whatsoever for this recording there is always the prominent mention of Denardo's age at the time of this recording. Like the abstract painting on the cover - a painting by Ornette himself - there's the irrational anxiety that free jazz is something a mere child could perform. And bringing a 10-year-old drummer to the Van Gelder Studios in the role once performed by Billy Higgins certainly stirs up such anxieties in an unusually direct manner. But like the painting, such distractions say little about the substance of the end expression. "Faithful" features some of Ornette's most lyrical improvisation. Charlie Haden is incredible throughout this recording. The rough edges of Denardo's drumming is well suited to the rawness of father Ornette's violin and trumpet work.
In the 40+ years that have elapsed since this material was recorded this music has aged better than most.

No comments: