Albert Ayler  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Albert Ayler (July 13, 1936 – November 25, 1970) was an American musician, an avant-garde jazz saxophonist, singer and composer.

After early experience playing R&B and bebop, Ayler began recording music during the free jazz era of the 1960s. However, some critics argue that while Ayler's style is undeniably original and unorthodox, it does not adhere to the generally accepted critical understanding of free jazz. In fact, Ayler's style is difficult to categorize in any way, and it evoked incredibly strong and disparate reactions from critics and fans alike. His innovations have inspired subsequent jazz musicians.

His trio and quartet records of 1964, such as Spiritual Unity and The Hilversum Session, show him advancing the improvisational notions of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman into abstract realms where whole timbre, and not just mainly harmony with melody, is the music's backbone. His ecstatic music of 1965 and 1966, such as "Spirits Rejoice" and "Truth Is Marching In", has been compared by critics to the sound of a brass band, and involved simple, march-like themes which alternated with wild group improvisations and were regarded as retrieving jazz's pre-Louis Armstrong roots.


Year Album Original Issue
1962 Something Different!!!!!! (The First Recordings Vols. 1 & 2) Bird Notes
1963 My Name Is Albert Ayler Debut
1964 Spirits Debut
1964 Swing Low Sweet Spiritual Osmosis
1964 Prophecy [Live] ESP-Disk
1964 Albert Smiles With Sunny [Live] Inrespect
1964 Spiritual Unity ESP
1964 New York Eye And Ear Control ESP
1964 Albert Ayler [Live] Philology
1964 The Copenhagen Tapes Ayler
1964 The Hilversum Session Osmosis
1965 Ghosts Debut
1965 Bells [Live] ESP
1965 Spirits Rejoice ESP
1965 Sonny's Time Now Jihad
1966 At Slug's Saloon, Vol. 1 & 2 [Live] ESP
1966 Lörrach / Paris 1966 [Live] Hathut
1966 In Greenwich Village [Live] Impulse!
1967 Love Cry Impulse!
1968 New Grass Impulse!
1969 Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe Impulse!
1969 The Last Album Impulse!
1970 Nuits de la Fondation Maeght Vol. 1Shandar
1970 Live on the Riviera [Live] ESP
2004 Holy Ghost: Rare & Unissued Recordings (1962–70) Revenant
2006 The Complete ESP-Disk Recordings ESP
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