Albert Ayler: Ghosts: First Variation


Ghosts: First Variation


Albert Ayler (tenor sax), Gary Peacock (bass), and Sunny Murray (percussion)


Spiritual Unity (ESP CD 1002)

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Albert Ayler (tenor sax), Gary Peacock (bass), Sunny Murray (percussion).

Recorded: New York, July 10, 1964


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

Albert Ayler was one of jazz’s most iconoclastic figures, and Spiritual Unity was the album that announced his arrival. “Ghosts: First Variation” started the record in the same manner that a bomb starts a war. Ayler drew much of his inspiration from his faith, but the music he created was unnerving and at times scary. “Ghosts” has Ayler blowing a simple folk melody, which he slowly modifies, escapes from, and then returns to, while Gary Peacock scatters notes from his bass in seeming random fashion and Sunny Murray’s stick skitters across his cymbals, neither of them ever attempting to get into a groove. Lasting just over five minutes, “Ghosts: First Variation” is the most beautiful chaos jazz has ever heard.

Reviewer: Steve Greenlee

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