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Blues for Albert Ayler

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Audio CD, April 24, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Recorded live in 1977 at Coltrane drummer Rashied Ali's Studio 77 - Ali's Alley upon his triumphant return from an extended European sojourn the previously unreleased date features Wright paying tribute to his mentor Albert Ayler on his birthday with a luminary quartet including Ali, Ornette Coleman Prime Time guitarist James "Blood" Ulmer and bassist Benny Wilson. The Right Reverend Wright at his most Holy Ghost-est!

Review

Fortunately, Blues for Albert Ayler is not some muted recording with inept sound quality. While there is no doubt this was a modest endeavor (there is hum in the quietest moments), there is a superior degree of sonic precision than found on some items released on bigger labels. --Audiophile Audition, Doug Simpson

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 24, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ESP Disk, Ltd.
  • ASIN: B007C7FD7Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,791 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Jefferson TOP 100 REVIEWER on April 28, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Wow! Some good unheard Frank Wright! This great set was recorded in 1974, live at Ali's Alley (owned by Rashied Ali) in New York City. The sound is very good-no harshness in the analog to digital transfers. The band consists of Wright-tenor sax/flute/vocals, Benny Wilson-bass, James Blood Ulmer-guitar, and Rashied Ali-drums. The music is broken into six "Parts"-there's no traditional titles. Two are fairly short (5+ minutes each) and the rest vary from 12 to 24 minutes each. Wright has released a couple of albums on the ESP-DISK label in the sixties, and they too are worth hearing. He's known for being part of the "New Thing" in jazz in the sixties. Ali is known for his playing with Coltrane in his later free period. And Ulmer has released a number of albums (most discontinued) of free thinking jazz, and later some blues based jazz releases as well.

The music is tight, with few open spaces. With Wright's tenor (especially), Ulmer's guitar, and Ali's drumming taking up all the available space, this is one dense, exciting concert. Wilson, for the most part, stays in the background, anchoring and pushing the music. He does step forward for an extended bass solo (including his bowing technique) on "Part 4". Wright plays his tenor as if his life depended on it. His sometimes furious rapid blowing is very exciting and visceral. Ulmer, too, is constantly shaping and pushing this music forward, whether he's out front or playing a rhythm part. And Ali's drumming is busy (but not cluttered) in the best tradition of this music. "Part 5" features Wright's flute playing-floating over the drums and bass. It's in contrast to his fiery tenor playing.

This is high energy music (as they used to say in the sixties) in the best tradition of outside jazz.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Keymer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 22, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Frank Wright, ten sx, flt; James `Blood' Ulmer, guit; Benny Wilson, b; Rashied Ali, dr.

This exceptional album was recorded live at Ali`s Alley in New York City on July 17, 1974. All though it's labeled as Parts 1 through 6, the whole album is really one continuous piece which stretches across 75 minutes without a break.

Wright was an early convert to the "New Thing" approach of Albert Ayler. Just as Ayler had, he had cut his musical eye teeth in boogie shout bands, absorbing the big sound and "talking" approach to soloing of r&b saxophonists like tenor sax player Big Jay McNeely (an icon of that music to me when I was a teenager). Frustrated with the scene in the States, Wright emigrated to Europe in the late 60s and flourished there. On a trip back to New York in 1974, he put together this quartet to play at Ali's Alley, a prime venue for the most aggressive and modern jazz music being played at that time. Ali played drums in the group. (Boy, did he!) Wright played tenor mostly on this album but flute as well. (His approach didn't translate as well to flute, where he couldn't squeeze the sound; the flute cut short the percussive attack that is evident on tenor.) The bassist for the gig was Benny Wilson, a musician I've not heard of elsewhere. For the most part, Wilson's playing is drowned out on this set by the flood of energy that poured out by the other three musicians, although he plays a respectable solo two thirds of the way through. The find of the group, and the musician whose playing raised this music above very good to exceptional, was guitarist James `Blood' Ulmer, who has never played better than he plays here.

Think of it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Shemp-Masta-Flash on June 9, 2012
Format: Audio CD
This live set by Frank Wright's 4tet was recorded in 1974 and is previously unreleased. Wright is a bit more conversant with "melody" in the conventional sense than some of his "out" sax brethren. His high-energy free playing had strong undercurrents from blues, R&B, and gospel --- in fact, Wright was a R&B bassist before switching to the saxophone. Wright's approach is often riveting and more joyous than angry. He's accompanied by Rashied Ali (John Coltrane's drummer toward the end) and guitarist James "Blood" Ulmer, whose blues-infused subtle squall makes a nice contrast to the colossal roaring of Wright and Ali.

For those less conversant with "noisy" jazz, Blues for Albert Ayler is a good way to go, while Wright fans (and fans of Peter Brotzmann, Charles Tyler, Albert Ayler, etc.) will treasure this.
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