ALBERT AYLER TRIO Spiritual Unity (Get Back)


Sounding almost like a Sonny Rollins trio gone avant-gardening, "Spiritual Unity" is representative of free jazz at its most uninhibited - at least, I hope it is, as I would shudder to conceive of any music any farther out than this.


Beginning conventionally enough, "Ghosts: First Variation" tantalises the listener with fragments of melody before the trio go off exploring uncharted sonic regions in a manner that pretty much defies verbal description. It's almost as though the musicians are playing against, rather than with, each other, all rushing furiously in different directions. "Spirits" is somewhat more sinuous and appropriately supernatural-sounding, albeit still hardly encumbered by melody. This brief album closes with another, much longer revision of "Ghosts", far more focussed and ferocious than previously but still not something most listeners would find themselves humming or tapping toes along to. "Spiritual Unity" isn't so much a difficult album, more that it's one that challenges conventional ways of listening, built from an entirely alien vocabulary, such that any attempt to rank it against more conventional offerings seems doomed to failure.


Pressed, for no apparent reason, on red vinyl, Get Back's reissue seems wincingly bright, this not really be an album that needs any assistance to sound oppressive.