Customer Review

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My spirit rejoiced but..., 21 Nov 2011
This review is from: Impulse 2-on-1: Love Cry / The Last Album (Audio CD)
Albert Ayler's music isn't as well documented as it should be - although the excellent "Holy Ghost" 9CD set told his incredible musical and personal story superbly, his core catalogue drifts in and out of print and much of it has been or remains the subject of legal disputes.

With this release, Impulse plug two major gaps in their share of Ayler's legacy. "Love Cry" saw Ayler and his group re-record a number of tracks from their repertoire in shorter form as well as debuting some new pieces; for example, "Ghosts" and "Bells" are each shrunk down to just 3 minutes - enough time to state the theme a few times and not much else. As much as this may be unsatisfying for seasoned fans, this makes "Love Cry" a great introduction to Ayler's music and it's clear that passions and energies are high - Ayler's off-mic vocalising on the title track is a delight and the musicianship is first class throughout. The posthumously issued "The Last Album" is a more varied experience with the tracks all being culled from the sessions that birthed "Music Is The Healing Force Of The Universe" in 1969. It would be harsh to label them as "outtakes" as several pieces are absolutely up to the standard of the parent album but a couple should have remained on the studio floor and perhaps would have was it not for Ayler's untimely death.

As with a few of these Impulse twofers, the actual release is kinda bewildering. Given that they were recorded at the exact same sessions, why not put "The Last Album" with "Music Is The Healing Force Of The Universe"? For one thing, the more funk-and-soul influenced songs that had by this time become the major thrust of Ayler's work (with the compositions all credited to his partner Mary Maria/Mary Parks) sit ill with "Love Cry"'s distillation of his earlier, more free music. For another, it's not as if we're tripping over piles of "Healing Force" in the streets as it too is out of print and thin on the ground. Lastly, are we to assume this means that the bonus takes included with the previous, long o/p CD edition of "Love Cry" are gone for good? Oh, and the dates of the original releases are given incorrectly on the rear, creating the impression that "The Last Album" was released in Ayler's lifetime and "Love Cry" posthumously! I've had to take a star off for all that, as stingy as it may seem.

Still, here's the bottom line - two required albums in their original tracklistings, well mastered with all original front, back and gatefold sleeve art reproduced in the booklets at a very reasonable price.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Feb 2012 08:30:57 GMT
What an extremely helpful review. I love Jazz, but, shamefully, have to admit that I have not heard Ayler's music, although I have read a lot about him. This looks like a good place to start. Your comments about the new ''twofer'' series of Impulse re-issues are also interesting. Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Feb 2012 14:04:11 GMT
octophone says:
My pleasure - anything I can do to lead people to Ayler shall be done!
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octophone
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Location: Glasgow, Scotland

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