Albert Ayler Quartet

The Hilversum Session

Our Swimmer • 1980

The American jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler experienced his heyday in the mid-sixties. 1964 saw the release of »Spiritual Unity«, his first release for the legendary jazz label ESP-Disk’, which placed him artistically between the leaning towards the folklore of a John Coltrane and the jazz of Ornette Coleman, freed from all shackles. He put together a new trio in New York, with Sunny Murray on drums and Gary Peacock on bass. The three of them were to go to Europe for a few months, where people liked to hear this kind of free jazz. Don Cherry joined them for the gigs in the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark. Yes, that Don Cherry. On November 9, 1964, having already been touring for a long period of time and being incredibly well attuned to one another, they recorded a small session for radio in the Dutch town of Hilversum. »The Hilversum Session« is one of the best recordings that exists of Albert Ayler. Two of his best-known pieces, »Ghosts« and »Spirits«, are featured in this session in very powerful versions. On »Angels«, which went on to be featured on »Spirits Rejoice« a year later as a cosmic elegy reminiscent of Sun Ra, still sounds like a tremulous farewell hymn to good old jazz here. The six tracks were first released in 1980, a full ten years after his tragic death: Ayler committed suicide on the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. They have now been re-released with new artwork, for the first time in 30 years.