September 16 street date. Skokiaan presents a reissue of Albert Ayler Quartet's Ghosts, originally released in 1965. Ghosts, by free jazz master Albert Ayler and his quartet, is a classic. Ghosts is some of the most intriguing and wicked music ever experienced. Ayler and his mates, Don Cherry on trumpet, Sonny Murray on drums and Gary Peacock on bass guitar, are definitely on par with the other free jazz gods like John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman. From a pop music perspective, this may be only screeching and overblown saxes and some non-structured fiddling on drums and bass, so that it's far different than the average mainstream. But if the listener has a fondness for soundscapes, improvisations and music that creates more of an atmosphere rather than fluffy melodies, this is a great record. From time to time, Ayler and his band start with straight melody lines and soon let it all run free before partly returning to recognizable and memorable melodies. On the title track, Ayler plays some sweet and swinging sax harmonies while drums and bass still rumble and blast completely improvised lines in the back. The composition named "Vibrations" is another of these outbursts of insanity. Ayler and Cherry duel each other for the most free and twisted player. Murray pounds the kettles and cymbals like a maniac and Peacock joins in on standing bass. Ghosts is an ongoing rumbling and definitely strange. Free jazz fanatics will surely love Ghosts. For fans of Coltrane and Coleman, this is a must have.
February 10 street date. Recorded in the Dutch city of Hilversum, this album presents Albert Ayler in all his blowzy, testifying glory, fronting a quartet that includes trumpeter Don Cherry, bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Sunny Murray. The repertoire includes five Ayler originals, notably his signature tunes “Angels,” “Ghosts” and “Spirits.” It’s easy to forget how starkly original Ayler was, given the untold number of contemporary free saxophonists who’ve built entire concepts around his sax style. This album is a welcome reminder. Imitators adopt surface characteristics of Ayler’s music—manifested mostly in the use of certain “extended” techniques—but very few capture the subtlety of which he was capable: the contrasts of dynamics, articulation, vibrato, register and phrasing; the sense of drama as a solo unfolds. Obviously, he’s in collegial company here. However misused his example has been by lesser musicians, this music retains an everlasting power (jazztimes)