Source: Bandcamp Daily.
Albert Ayler’s music represents a union of opposites. The tenor saxophonist and bandleader wanted to reach the masses with songs anyone could hum, but he appended these tuneful melodies with ferocious, free improvisation that pushed the limits of what most people considered music. He felt his work expressed universal love, spiritualism, and joy, but its sheer intensity brought to mind danger, violence, and calamity. He was deeply versed in tradition and thought of what he did as a modern extension of the blues. But his innovations put him at the leading edge of the avant-garde, to the extent that many of his own peers said they couldn’t understand what he was doing. Because of the tension between Ayler’s stated aims and their sometimes-confusing realization, he’s remained a cult figure, especially admired by forward-thinking musicians but mostly ignored by the listening public. Sadly, we never got to hear the whole story, as he died in 1970 at age 34 under mysterious circumstances.