The library only had one Ayler album, and it was "Live in Greenwich Village." I checked it out. What came out of the speakers later that night was like nothing I had ever heard. However, the discs were badly beaten up (the problem with the public library) and the first disc skipped frequently and stopped playing about half way through. The second disc was unplayable.
Albert Ayler, Love Cry
1968, Impulse Records (CD 1991)
Albert Ayler: alto, tenor, vocals
Don Ayler: trumpet
Call Cobbs: harpsichord
Alan Silva: bass
Milford Graves: drums
The next day I went to the CD store to see if they had the album. They didn't. However, they did have one Ayler album - "Love Cry" for $9.99. The album is melodic, rhythmic, chaotic, loose, shocking, emotional, and inspiring. The sound is strange, particularly the tracks where Cal Cobbs plays harpsicord. The harpsichord lends an antique and disjointed sort of feel, like the music is somehow dated and old, yet everything else, particularly Albert's sax and his brother Don's trumpet, screams that this is something new - especially during the second half of the album. The album begins with the title track, which harkens to reveille, and it is followed by a series of loose marchs that speed up and slow down at whim, and provide a springboard for very short improvisations. The first six tracks were all recorded at a session in August of 1967, and they all have a very similar feel. I find myself joyfully humming along during the these tracks.
However, the second half of the album is where the real magic happens. These tracks (which include several alternate takes not on the original LP) were all recorded in February of 1968, and feature more extended improvisation and emotion, and Albert's sax is his ragged best - screaming, crying, and and splashing sounds like paint on a canvas. Donald's trumpet is repetitive and hypnotic.
Alan Silva on bass and Milford Graves on drums propel these schizophrenic and swirling marches along, and during the second half of the album provide the Ayler brothers with a template for unbridled improvisation. This is a unique and beautiful album, under-appreciated by many, including some Ayler fans. However, I find it impossible not to get swept up in these marching medleys and melodies - grinning, screaming and crying all the way.