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
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