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It's been over thirty years since Albert Ayler's death, and still his legend
It's taken a quarter century for the world to catch up with Ayler. It's a blessing that we have his recordings to ponder, and that there is more material continuing to surface - it would be a loss to us indeed to have to imagine such a sound as he made, as we have to imagine of, say Buddy Bolden.
These recordings close to the beginning of his career, cut a beautiful portrait
of the great saxophonist at his best, and do much to explain the power of
"The Copenhagen Tapes" is compilation of two separate previously unreleased recording sessions in September 1964 - at the Club Montmartre on the third, and in a Danish Radio Studio on the tenth.
For orientation, consider that this is two months after the recording of Ayler's undisputed classic, "Spiritual Unity", with the same partners - Sunny Murray on drums and Gary Peacock on bass - but in September they added the brilliant Don Cherry on trumpet.
These recordings have never before been released. Both are in excellent
fidelity, and show the band playing with great empathy. Cherry is particularly
revelatory - he had played the perfect foil for Ornette for years, and here
he does the same with Ayler, shadowing his moves, yet remaining utterly
centered within himself.
At 70 minutes, "The Copenhagen Tapes" offers a beautifully detailed look at Ayler's most famous group.
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