Uncut - p.1235 stars out of 5
- "[The album] blends the funereal tones of tradition with the fire music syncopation that was Ayler's mid-'60s signature."
The Wire - 3/00, p.56
"... gave voice to a personal vision so occult that it seemed to emerge straight from the Book Of Revelations..."
The Wire - 6/01, pp.44-6
"...Contains peak performances..."
Albert Ayler Trio: Albert Ayler (tenor saxophone); Gary Peacock (bass); Sunny Murray (drums).
Recorded in New York, New York on July 10, 1964. Originally released on ESP Disc.
Albert Ayler: Albert Ayler (tenor saxophone); Gary Peacock (double bass); Sunny Murray (drums).
Like all the great free-jazz players, Albert Ayler possessed a musical intelligence that ranged far and wide. With an approach to the saxophone that reinvents its vocabulary, Ayler's playing tests the limits and possibilities of harmonic structure and tonality. His work is singular however, and markedly different from peers Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy, in that it is not primarily intellectual or willfully deconstructive. Instead, Ayler's aesthetic is almost na‹ve; his motifs are based on folk melodies and popular themes turned inside out with a luminous, superhuman emotion and intensity.
SPIRITUAL UNITY is Ayler's defining statement. Ayler, bassist Gary Peacock, and drummer Sunny Murray form a telepathic network of accelerating and decelerating rhythms and ideas. Ayler's voice is perfectly realized here, from the surging run of "The Wizard," to the lyrical ruminations in "Spirits," to "Ghosts," whose two variations bookend the album, musically and thematically. Ayler unleashes bird-like flurries and guttural groans deep enough to coax spirits from the earth. His aggressive attack and wide vibrato are tempered by the child-like purity of his expression, and the listener is pulled inexorably into a transcendent unity promised by the title, making SPIRITUAL UNITY a free-jazz classic.