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Albert Ayler - Live on the Riviera

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When Ayler's band went through Customs in July 1970 on their way to play at a festival in France, keyboardist Call Cobbs got held back and arrived a day late. Minus the keyboards, the band played anyway. The music-making of the resulting ensemble is freer and more adventurous than on the quintet's following Maeght Foundation concerts. This unique document, Ayler's penultimate recording, thus brings him back to something close to the trio setting in which he first found fame on 1964's epochal Spiritual Unity (though, on Live on the Riviera, with Mary Maria adding occasional vocals and, once, another sax). Exactly four months later, Ayler's body would be found in the East River.

ESP-Disk's 50th Anniversary Remaster brings the seminal free-jazz saxophonist's last unfettered blast of expression back into print after several years out of the catalog.


Albert Ayler: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, musette, vocal
Allen Blairman: drums
Steve Tintweiss: double bass
Mary Maria [Mary Parks]: vocal, soprano saxophone

Track Listing

1. Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe
2. Birth of Mirth
3. Masonic Inborn
4. Oh! Love of Life
5. Island Harvest
6. Heart Love
7: Ghosts

Tracks 1, 4-5 by Mary Parks, Pak Music (ASCAP)                                                                       Tracks 2-3, 6-7 by Albert Ayler, Syndicore Music (BMI)


Recorded July 25, 1970 at the Maeght Foundation in St. Paul de Vence


Press Quotes

7.6 rating "The bouncy 'The Birth of Mirth' shows that Ayler was writing great themes all the way to end." – Mark Richardson,

" Ayler's playing there is pain and sadness as well as joy and playfulness. His tenor plunges the depths of human emotions. And that's not being overdramatic—there are plenty of superb recordings that capture this. Live on the Riviera is merely the latest to do so."            - James Taylor

"Ayler himself is in excellent form throughout, best on the playful "Birth of Mirth" and his theme song, "Ghosts." Bassist Steve Tintweiss and drummer Allen Blairman work well with Ayler, making one regret that this group did not last longer and record a full set as a trio."                   - Scott Yanow

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