ALBERT AYLER — Stockholm, Berlin 1966 (review)

ALBERT AYLER — Stockholm, Berlin 1966 album cover Live album · 2011 · Avant-Garde Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
snobb
On the wave of archival releases fashion, Albert Ayler's legacy needed to be explored deeper, so it's strange that such a release didn't come earlier. During the last decade among a few similar releases, possibly only "The Copenhagen Tapes" (Ayler Records,2002) could be mentioned as a successful archival Ayler album. "Stockholm, Berlin 1966" is quite a strange release, (though not so unusual for Swiss Hatology catalog to be honest)- I can hardly imagine who is this release's targeted consumer. It contains two recorded concerts from Ayler's European tour 1966, both of the concerts mostly feature the same tunes. Nothing is wrong with such a concept if the listener can hear two extremely different concerts of very unpredictable music, but here is not the case unfortunately. Ayler's early radical period was gone, and the band (same line-up as you can expect - the time difference between the two concerts of the same tour was only a week) consists of Albert's brother Donald on trumpet, plus a trio of good collaborators, but not stars as was more usual in Ayler's early years. The musical program is based on some strong (possibly Ayler's strongest) marching themes played with passion, but too repetitive to be repeated twice on the same release. For sure there were no two same Ayler's concerts, but the difference in these two dates' versions is not so big - and what is more important, there are a lot of different versions of these same songs already released before. The sound quality is average, but again you can find better sound recordings of this same material. So it's difficult to imagine what could be the reason for Ayler's fans to open their valet to pay for this album. Also, for newcomers this album is by far not the best buy - besides being not very accessible, it offers the questionable opportunity to listen to the same songs twice. Collectors may need it, but just note - Berlin concert (right half of the album) was already released in 2004 by Revenant Records on their Holy Ghost set.
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