Albert Ayler – Free At Last

albert

Though Impulse! has been accused by critics of pushing Ayler into making a commercial disc, it seems strange that the label would have, since much of its roster consisted of free jazz artists. They were, after all, responsible for releasing the majority of John Coltrane’s riskiest and most experimental work. After many spins it seems more that Ayler was looking for a new way to explore his music than just making a record that would reach a larger audience. The solos on this record would have never gotten airplay then, nor would they get it now. His squeaks and honks may have R&B riffing, but the solos are too gritty for most to handle.
That is why it is time to re-evaluate this record and accept it for its musical merits. The chops are solid and the arrangements are tight. Sure this may be the first time you hear yourself humming an Ayler tune, but it doesn’t minimize the genius he put into this record. It shows an artist at a turning point, and because of negative feedback it remains an obscure record, instead of a big seller. It is time that we as jazz fans open our minds and be willing to allow artists to try on different suits. Sure quite often the results are horrid, but often the results are like New Grass.
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