ALBERT AYLER - IN GREENWICH VILLAGE

ALBERT AYLER - IN GREENWICH VILLAGE

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Released: 16/06/23

In the mid-60s, Albert Ayler found himself at the centre of major transformations within jazz. On his albums for the ESP-Disk’ label, his delivery was radically aggressive and his tone blistering, and his music would be further energised when (at the behest of John Coltrane) he was signed to the legendary Impulse! imprint. As Ayler said at the time, “It’s not about notes anymore. It’s a sound – a feeling. The approach we’re taking will discontinue the use of the word ‘jazz’.” While that prediction didn’t pan out, so wild and unfettered, so extraordinary is Ayler’s music that it legitimately begs the question, ‘is this jazz?’ 

In Greenwich Village, Ayler’s first record for Impulse!, perfectly captures the Cleveland-born saxophonist’s radiant intensity, being as it is sourced from a pair of live performances — December 66 at the Village Vanguard, and February 67 at the Village Theatre on New York’s Lower East Side. All is remarkable, and the recordings sound incredible – but of particular interest are the tracks ‘For John Coltrane,’ a tribute to Ayler’s mentor who passed away not long after the recordings were made; and ‘Truth is Marching in’, on which trumpeter Donald Ayler joins his brother to celebrate and ultimately deconstruct several jazz traditions to stunning effect. Vibrant in sound and vision, In Greenwich Village is a landmark statement in free jazz and a career high-point for this truly original artist.