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Spiritual Unity 50th Anniversary Expanded Edition
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Spiritual Unity, recorded on July 10, 1964, is the album that made Albert Ayler and ESP-Disk famous. Ayler's sound was unprecedented, much rawer than any other jazz of the time. The 50th Anniversary Expanded Edition includes as a bonus the track ""Vibrations,"" which was briefly and accidentally substituted for ""Spirits"" on an early vinyl edition. It is the first time both ""Spirits"" and ""Vibrations"" have been on an edition of Spiritual Unity. All About Jazz says, ""If you haven't heard this record, you've missed out on one of the most profound artistic statements of the 20th century.
"If you haven't heard this record, you've missed out on one of the most profound artistic statements of the 20th century." -- All About Jazz
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The best evidence of this is probably Ayler's solo in "The Wizard"-- he cuts loose completely, bringing forth every groan and scream he can coax from his sax before yielding to a brief bass solo. Of the rest, "Spirits" gets a stunning reading, with Ayler's wide vibrato injecting a high level of emotive content into the music and Peacock's sympathetic arco/pizzicato accompaniment really holding firm. Of the two takes of "Ghosts" on the album, the former is much more relaxed, with Ayler's unaccompanied intro and relatively restrained soloing, the latter is extremely aggressive, filled with the idiom of Ayler's music, twisgting and turning and really getting in and around the piece.
This reissue, on the resurrected ESP Disk label, is essential. Remastered from the original tapes removed from a vault for the first time, it sounds fantastic-- the muted drum sound seems to have been somewhat repaired, and more of the subtleties of Murray's playing can be heard, in fact the entire record is crisp, clean and sounds superior to even the fantastic remastering on Ayler's Impulse recordings.
Like all of Ayler's catalog, "Spiritual Unity" is a difficult album, but its aprobably a good place to start-- it shows an artist at the height of his powers. Get this release not the others, its well worth the investment. Recommended.
Most recent customer reviews
I know lots of people love this album: I find much of it very simple and uninventive -...Vibrations, which has the same band except for the welcome addition of Don Cherry and of which ace reviewer Michael Stack says: Curious parties on Ayler should start here.Read more