Daily Download: "Ghosts" (live), Albert Ayler

A previously unreleased 1970 performance by the great saxophonist.

Published July 13, 2005 7:01AM (EDT)

"You just start with the bow, then I'll come in and we'll go from there," was apparently the full extent of direction that Albert Ayler gave his band before walking onstage in St. Paul de Vence, France, July 25, 1970, to perform this concert. Not that you really needed anything more when playing with a musical force as tremendous, volcanic and bold as Ayler, who blew on his sax with a joyful conviction capable of pummeling anyone within earshot into a state of ecstasy. This previously unreleased concert, one of ESP's exciting string of new releases, is less than amazing only because of the presence of Mary Maria, who intoned and sang silly poetry ("Music is the healing force of the universe") throughout much of the concert. The trio itself, with Steve Tintweiss on bass and Allen Blairman on drums, was in marvelous form, as you can hear on this track, for which Maria sat out. "Ghosts" was Ayler's most iconic composition (you can also download the original studio version of the tune, which I featured last month), here given a chaotic reading, interrupted by a groaning, woody bowed bass solo and an amusing, deliberately cheesy false ending midway through.

By Salon Staff

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