[34] Albert Ayler Trio – Spiritual Unity

29 Nov

This album is literally dizzying.

Spiritual Unity

Spiritual Unity











My first listen was lying in bed, eyes closed, headphones shutting out the world. Behind my eyelids, my eyes tried to follow the wildfire squeaks and squawks of the saxophone rapidly riffing up and down the scales and triggered a physical reaction – my vertigo kicked in.

Everyone should experience this breathtaking rollercoaster ride.

It is a soundscape, a wall of noise often ugly and raw as the brass, bass and drums get into a loud and obnoxious public argument.  The listener can almost believe that each member of the trio is simply doing his own thing and the hell with everyone else, with cohesion, with musical theory.  But the whole somehow hangs together too perfectly, too correctly (for want of a better word) fot it too have happened by accident.

Unlike the experimentation of Art Ensemble of Chicago’s Urban Bushmen which I found hit or miss, in Spiritual Unity everything is laid out before your ears, no sleight of hand, nothing held back.  The trio seemingly picks an obscure scale and a quick tempo, then appears to jam at random within that series of notes.

And it is like nothing I have ever heard before.  There is no way to mistake this for Jazz as background music!

I can see how someone might not like this, but there is no way they won’t have a strong reaction.  Call it messy, call it noise, noone is going to argue with you.  But more than anything to date this album is something you should hear at least once in your life.

How else will you know whether or not you like it?

This sub 30-minute disc connects with me on a physical level – my heart races, my breath catches and my head spins.  It is almost uncomfortable, almost irritating, almost awful, yet in the end it is none of these things.

It is genius.  And a perfect way to finish the first chapter of the list.

Owned before blogging? No. (2 of 34. 6%)
Heard before blogging? No. (4 of 34. 12%)
Recommend? Yes. (28 of 34. 82%)

Next Week: Baby Huey – The Living Legend


2 Responses to “[34] Albert Ayler Trio – Spiritual Unity”


  1. [70] Sidney Bechet – Ken Burns’ Jazz | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - August 8, 2014

    […] my love for the far more experimental Jazz titans like Muhal Richard Abrams, Henry Threadgill and Albert Ayler.  That is not to say I haven’t greatly enjoyed some more traditional voices – Adderly, […]

  2. [94] Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Ry Cooder – A Meeting By The River | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - January 23, 2015

    […] even than Back In Black or Spiritual Unity, A Meeting By The River is the most perfectly titled recording to […]

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