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Albert Ayler - The Copenhagen Tapes

Andrey Henkin, AllAboutJazz

The Copenhagen Tapes, released by the meaty Ayler Records (a label to be thanked for unearthing live Mike Osborne), was recorded in that fair city with the super group of Don Cherry on trumpet, Gary Peacock on bass and Sunny Murray on drums.

The liner notes indicate that had he not died just before, Dolphy may have joined the quartet at this show.
While it is fascinating to ruminate what this quintet would sound like, The Copenhagen Tapes offer enough compelling moments to be thankful that this new recording exists as is.

Ayler and company play all his chart-toppers from the ESP and other sessions. Cherry is an excellent foil for Ayler. His approach is the understated canvas upon which Ayler splashes his wild bursts of color.

The sound is clear without losing the slight echo of the Club Montmartre. Peacock’s bass playing especially comes through quite richly; his playing keeps the rhythm while floating just enough to either side of it to keep things interesting.
Sunny Murray, who has claimed to be the original proponent of free jazz drumming, contributes his typically staccato style.

The trio of Ayler, Peacock and Murray had logged a lot of time together and it shows in the tightness of the improvisations. And with a Cherry on top, The Copenhagen Tapes are a cheaper and longer alternative to the hard-to-find ESP sides.