Albert Ayler The Copenhagen Tapes

No matter what it is that I say about Albert Ayler and his music, I run the risk of sounding either like a babbling idiot (his music has such a strong effect on me), or like a biased journalist. It’s best then, to say as little as is allowed. I don’t want to sway anybody in any direction. Copenhagen was an important city for Ayler in the beginning part of the ’60s. At the beginning of 1963, he recorded My Name is Albert Ayler with local musicians. He also played with the likes of Cecil Taylor (recording that has not yet been issued). Finally, in September of ’64, he played some gigs at the infamous Club Montmartre. This was what could be called a super-quartet. It consisted of Ayler on tenor, Don Cherry on trumpet, Gary Peacock on bass and percussionist Sunny Murray. The Copenhagen Tapes are recordings taken from that concert, along with some studio takes done a week later at the Danish Radio. All recorded material here is absolutely stupendous, but it’s the live concert that is worth the admission alone. The energy level that September night was unmatched. Ayler was a tornado that destroyed everything in sight. Don Cherry makes reasonable attempts at matching Ayler’s majestic fury, only to be shown his place. This is not a meeting of equals, for at that time, Ayler reigned supreme. The infamous rhythm section of Gary Peacock and Sunny Murray is unmatchable. Both players take us for a wild ride in directions unknown, only to come back to base and join the leaders at a later time. Let’s not kid ourselves, this was spiritual music. Ayler wasn’t expressing anger per se through his music. His sound was full of joy, hope and redemption. Call it what you want — spiritual music, soundtrack for a revolution. There was only one Albert, and The Copenhagen Tapes was his penultimate glory. (Ayler)