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I hope this is the right section to post this thread, but does anyone else love Ayler's tone? On wikipedia it says he gets a lot of his tone from using extra heavy reeds... does any one know his setup?
 

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I don't know his set-up. But I LOVE Albert Ayler's music.
 

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I hope this is the right section to post this thread, but does anyone else love Ayler's tone?
Yes!
On wikipedia it says he gets a lot of his tone from using extra heavy reeds...
A good reason to maybe not believe everything you read on Wikipedia.
Ooops, hope I haven't offended anyone here again.
 

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(FWIW)
Albert used a wide bore metal mouthpiece with an incredibly hard Fibercane #4 plastic reed (Wilmer 1980: 94) in order to produce the loudest, fullest, and most malleable sound ever to emerge from a saxophone. Because he was moving such a large mass of air through his horn, Albert Ayler was able to shape the harmonic content of each note he played. Like a guitarist using feedback, he was able to produce notes far beyond the normal range of the tenor sax simply by exaggerating the higher partials in the tone of a normal pitch.
Chapter One of Jeff Schwartz's Albert Ayler: His Life and Music

Wilmer
 

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I thought his tone was horrible. One of that eras avant players that probably never studied much, (there were many), and were very angry sounding, to me. They looked at John Coltrane as their leader, but never studied jazz or it's history,(or their instruments ), but made a lot of noise. The greats like Trane and Dolphy studied, and came from somewhere. Just my opinion, and please don't get TOO angry!
 

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Albert Ayler doesn't have a tone.

He makes noise, not music.

Noise is okay in small doses as a counterpoint to music,
or to provide tension, when done by someone who knows
a bit about music.

I agree with asaxman. To me AA is/was BS.
 

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While there are surely plenty of free and avant garde players from the last 40 odd years who just played without studying, it is completely mistaken to charge Ayler with this. Even disregarding who he listened to and what he studied when he was younger, there is an obvious sense of melody in his playing. In the 50s he was known for sounding just like Charlie Parker.
 

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I thought his tone was horrible. One of that eras avant players that probably never studied much, (there were many), and were very angry sounding, to me. They looked at John Coltrane as their leader, but never studied jazz or it's history,(or their instruments ), but made a lot of noise. The greats like Trane and Dolphy studied, and came from somewhere. Just my opinion, and please don't get TOO angry!
Not angry, but I disagree totally. I love his sound and believe he was a musical genius who made a tremendous leap in the music.
 

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Albert was a book, that sadly was never finished.

A giant, a person alone in a new music, and a man who's life was cut short.

What he was going for, his story....we can only dream of.

One of my fav' players.
 

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Ayler, based on his own words, was a compassionate and spiritual person, hardly angry. Is Love Cry an angry work? Was A Love Supreme angry? I just don't get these views of this heart felt music.
Ayler was a skilled saxophonist who could play many things on the horn and chose to forge a new direction. I was talking just yesterday with a friend who saw him live several times who spoke of the passion and beauty of his playing and of course his incredibly warm and beautiful tone.
 

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I suppose it's personal perception. To me his tone could be angry at times, at other times he expressed sadness, love all kinds of emotion. An extremely emotive player who was at the forefront of an avant garde movement that brought some new concepts to the jazz vocabulary - tonal texture as something just as important as technical facility or harmonic complexity being one of them.

To some people the buzzing of a bee is anger, to others it's the bringer of fertility.
 

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I saw him live a few times. The sets were like little shows — during the ensemble the whole crew would be there, belting out gospel-laden rounds and "****-tunes" (LeRoi Jones' phrase, not mine) then each soloist would be left alone on the stage with the rhythm section as the other horns walked off. As the soloist approached the end the members would file back on and start the theme again which felt like quite a release. There was something about the sheer raw power of prolonged improvisation unencumbered by harmony which was almost a bit scary — to have that tension released with a melody which sounded almost like a nursery song was really very droll, you could almost hear the theater catch its collective breath and break into a smile of recognition.

I don't listen to Ayler now. But, damn, there was something about it at the time which really hit me. As far as I know, no one has ever picked up the baton. There are a fair amount of musicians working in the free jazz format but they don't sound like Ayler.
 
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Great description Shotgun. I agree nobody sounds like Albert. As for Pete's comment that his tone could be angry I would agree that Albert expressed a wide gamut of feelings, as an artist that is an essential part of what he does. In fact very few horn players seem to do so anymore to that degree and that is our loss. Still, to characterize him overall as angry is purely the filters of the listeners bias and nothing to do with his overall spiritual and inclusive point of view. Because Aylers music is such deep feeling music most of the time intellectual types lack the tools to understand or describe what he is doing. That's when they come up with drivel terms like "hate jazz". (I am not referring to you here Pete, I agree that he could at times express anger).
 

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Ayler's music was deep and powerful. His tunes were beautiful and so was his playing. Just because his playing didn't sound like his predecessors doesn't mean he didn't listen to them. He just had no interest in sounding like anyone else, which is something that more young players should aim for. The world doesn't need any more Parker/Coltrane/Hawkins clones. Sure, learn from them but if you're not going to put something of yourself in the music there's no point in playing it.
 

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I had a friend who knew Ayler who told me that when Ayler was in the army he insisted on playing his marching music with a lyre and pages. The sergeant told him he was going to walk alongside him and offer some kind of punishment for each wrong or missed note. But he never got punished.
People often give that kind of knee jerk response as with Picasso paintings etc. "Oh my kid could do that". The funny thing is the kids often can in terms of capturing the spirit of it but the adults can't. Albert was wide open with expression and with his own extension of traditional technique to make it work. He was never going to have mass appeal but its good to see that people still feel strongly about his music and in largely positive ways.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm glad to see so many other Ayler fans. I know that he's an acquired taste, and a lot of people don't like him. Something about his playing, though, moves me in a way that no other musician does. I don't know if I'd call him my favorite sax player, but I think he may have my favorite sound. It's huge, and grabs you... and once it has you it doesn't let go.

P.S. I know wikipedia is not the best of sources... that's why I asked about his set up here :)
 

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I remember reading a quote from Coltrane many years ago in one of his rare interviews where he said, to paraprase, that his own music went through an insprational transformation after he dreamed one night that he could play as free as Albert Ayler. I got to see Albert Ayler and band one night at the Village Theatre (which later became Filmore East) when I was a teenager. An experience that I will always be thankful for.
 

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Some of the reactions to Ayler's music by contemporaries were rather telling. I remember one sympathetic critic (it might have been Frank Kofsky) describing a friend's reaction to hearing an Ayler set - "You know, I'm getting tired of *******." Many people assumed that there was a black nationalist agenda to the "New Thing", which is a misconception, according to this article.

I got to see Albert Ayler and band one night at the Village Theatre (which later became Filmore East) when I was a teenager.
I was there too! I still have the handbill somewhere.
 

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ayler's music was deep and powerful. His tunes were beautiful and so was his playing. Just because his playing didn't sound like his predecessors doesn't mean he didn't listen to them. He just had no interest in sounding like anyone else, which is something that more young players should aim for. The world doesn't need any more parker/coltrane/hawkins clones. Sure, learn from them but if you're not going to put something of yourself in the music there's no point in playing it.

amen,
 

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ayler's music was deep and powerful. His tunes were beautiful and so was his playing. Just because his playing didn't sound like his predecessors doesn't mean he didn't listen to them. He just had no interest in sounding like anyone else, which is something that more young players should aim for. The world doesn't need any more parker/coltrane/hawkins clones. Sure, learn from them but if you're not going to put something of yourself in the music there's no point in playing it.
+1

(but you can keep Fire Music's "Girl from Ipanema" ;))
 
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