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Albert Ayler: Swing Low, Sweet Spiritual (Diw)


Now...I’ve railed against “purists” many, many times on this site - but, to my mind, the reception of this set of recordings by the vast majority of so-called “free” music enthusiasts takes the bloody cake...

Hey...EXACTLY what kinda stupid game are you dipshits playing? And - excuse me - do you actually think Mr. Albert Fucking Ayler would - at all - appreciate your stylish ignoring of his most important early recording...simply because he didn’t feel the need to (directly) revisit what he’d already managed to consumately pay hommage to?

Ayler - understandably - has become the patron saint of seriously “out” playing, and yet, not only is his only genuine roots session out of print - Amazon, politely, says both versions have been “discontinued by the manufacturer” - but almost all of you swine that pretend to worship at his grave can’t even be bothered to praise it...

But this, I’m sure of: No-one will ever even come close to understanding what made AA tick, who has not delved into his grassroots Holiness church roots. Simply because jazz musicians had - for decades - scorned the kind of broad vibrato approach that he embraced certainly didn’t mean it was extinct. Fact is, he learnt said approach mainly from players in Holiness churches...where such attack was applauded. And, if you think you can simply cop his “out” attack w/out understanding where it came from - and dismiss this set as, merely, his take on “Americana”...then, you’re as big a fools as the white idiots who profess “blues” w/out any understanding of the forms that gave birth to it.

And I, quite frankly, have no more to say to you...

Meanwhile...this album, in whatever form, is - simply - an absolute classic.

Not only does it feature Ayler accompanied by a brilliant - and sensitive - rhythm section, underpinned by the masterful Henry Grimes/Sunny Murray combination, but, in it, Ayler plumbs the depths of his approach to the horn - and the (traditional) songs he has chosen - and, it’s an awesome encounter. Such an approach had never been well recorded before...and, Ayler (undoubtedly) also pushed it to extremes fresh to American music - albeit, not to third world brass (see the Frozen Brass sets, if you doubt me.)

And yet...“extremes” is, quite frankly, not what this music is actually about. Because Ayler - and, I’m sure, his sidemen, knew exactly what they were doing here...and, it wasn’t playing games w/extremity. Instead, it was - sensitively - recuperating & reinvorating a neglected strand of traditional black American music, that was at the very core of his art.

And, you’d be a fool to miss it...




John Henry Calvinist