Albert Ayler
Holy Ghost
Rare and Unissued Recordings (1962-70)

Released: 2004
Contents: 9xCD or 3xLP (selections from the CD set)
Revenant No. 213

By 1958, Albert Ayler and his horn had made some rounds: from boy prodigy to teenage member of Little Walter’s Blues Band, from “Little Bird” of Cleveland to featured US Army Band soloist. Then he resolutely set out to forget everything he’d ever learned about how to properly play the sax so that he could really PLAY it — unhinged, free from strictures of pitch and form, drawing on spirituals, folksong, marches, and other big whopping chunks of collective musical memory — to channel symphonies to God out his horn. Seeking nothing short of Truth in music, Albert Ayler became THE catalytic force in defining the sound of the tenor in Free Jazz, and was a heavy influence on John Coltrane’s later work.

Holy Ghost is the first comprehensive attempt to build a monument in sound to Albert Ayler. The settings — radio and TV sessions, studio demos, private recordings, live concert footage — find his music at its most liberated. And with the sponsorship and assistance of Ayler’s family, friends, and colleagues, Holy Ghost documents his never-before-heard first and last recordings, bookending rare and unissued music from every stage of his career.

Albert Ayler: heard ABOUT more than heard. But that’s all about to change.

9 CDs of rare & unissued recordings
208 pg. full-color hardbound book
new essays by Amiri Baraka, Val Wilmer & other Ayler scholars
unpublished photos & family memorabilia
artist testimonials of first encounters with Ayler’s music
exhaustive chronology of Ayler performance activities
housed in lavish Spirit Box cast from handcarved original

Nominated for two 2005 Grammy Awards.

“A genius of the tenor saxophone.” – Cecil Taylor

“He carried the gift, the voice, a reflection of God.” – Don Cherry

“The dynamite sound of our time!” – Amiri Baraka

“Man, what kind of reed you using?” – John Coltrane

“The Everest of all jazz boxed sets in 2004. A major event. Holy Ghost represents a long overdue restoration of Ayler’s art to a listening public that has had scant chance to hear it.” - Chicago Tribune

“Eye-popping and mind-boggling, the Holy Ghost box treats Ayler with religious devotion. A beautiful object, a trove of rare music and a triumph of jazz scholarship, it’s a bargain at under $100.” - NPR’s Fresh Air

“Holy Ghost is one of the most lovingly produced archival packages ever dedicated to a jazz musician. Sets a new, elegant standard for the presentation of historical materials.” – Downbeat, October, 2004

“Everything about this release is remarkable.” - Cadence

“Meticulous and thorough. Remarkable live performances and interviews.” - New York Times

“From a bunch of fanatics known for reinventing box sets as objets d’art comes a heap of unreleased recordings by the blistering free-jazz saxophonist. Weirdly beautiful, deeply human. Sure to be at the top of Thurston Moore’s birthday wish list.” - Spin

“To all the worshippers in the Church of Albert Ayler, the holy rollers and the bug-eyed acolytes; to all the neophytes and skeptics, the critical naysayers and money lenders, listen up: the tablets just came down from the mountain.” – The Wire

“A remarkable collection … beautifully packaged into a deluxe onyx ‘spirit box.’ The father of free jazz finally receives his due.” – Billboard

“The Sistine Chapel of box sets … 5 stars (out of 5)” – Sunday Times (UK)

“5 stars (out of 5). Lavish. Holy Ghost is Ayler’s rich, just memorial: a box of revelations that add up to a resurrection.” - MOJO

“The black onyx box itself is a trove of memorabilia. This year’s most intriguing jazz release.” - Village Voice

“Housed in a gorgeous replica of a hand-carved spirit box, Holy Ghost is a vast compilation. Ayler and Coltrane both believed in a path to ‘spiritual unity.’ There is a similar sense of devotion in Holy Ghost itself.” - New Yorker

“Unprecedented. What’s being called the most important jazz release of the decade.” – Austin American Statesman

“Lavish. A work of art.” - Cleveland Plain Dealer

Tracks and MP3s
Herbert Katz Quintet w/Albert Ayler
June 19, 1962 in Helsinki, Finland
  1. Sonnymoon for Two
  2. Summertime
  3. On Green Dolphin Street
Cecil Taylor Quartet w/Albert Ayler
November 16, 1962 in Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. spoken intro
  2. Four
Albert Ayler Trio
June 14, 1964 in New York City
  1. untitled; ends with “Spirits”
  2. Saints
  3. Ghosts
Albert Ayler Trio
June 14, 1964 in New York City
  1. The Wizard
  2. Children
  3. Spirits
Albert Ayler Quartet
September 3, 1964 in Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. Spirits
  2. Vibrations
  3. untitled
  4. Mothers
  5. Children
  6. Spirits
Burton Greene Quintet w/Albert Ayler
February, 1966 in New York City
  1. untitled
Albert Ayler Quintet
April 16, 1966 in Cleveland, Ohio
  1. spoken intro
  2. Spirits Rejoice
  3. D.C.
  4. untitled
  5. Our Prayer
  6. spoken intro
  7. untitled
  8. Ghosts
Albert Ayler Quintet
April 17, 1966 in Cleveland, Ohio
  1. Spirits Rejoice
  2. Medley: Prophet-Ghosts-Spiritual Bells
  3. Our Prayer
Albert Ayler Quintet
April 17, 1966 in Cleveland, Ohio
  1.  untitled/Truth Is Marching In
  2. Spirits
  3. Medley: Zion Hill – Spirits – Spiritual Bells
  4. untitled
Albert Ayler Quintet
November 3, 1966 in Berlin, Germany
  1. spoken intro
  2. Ghosts/Bells
  3. Truth Is Marching In
  4. Omega
  5. Our Prayer
Albert Ayler Quintet
November 8, 1966 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  1. spoken intro
  2. Truth Is Marching In
  3. Bells
  4. Spirits Rejoice
  5. Free Spiritual Musics Part IV
Albert Ayler Quintet
June 30/July 1, 1967 in Newport, Rhode Island
  1. Truth is Marching In/Omega
  2. Japan/Universal Indians
  3. Our Prayer
Albert Ayler Quartet
July 21, 1967 (“Coltrane Funeral”) in New York City
  1. Love Cry/Truth Is Marching In/Our Prayer
Pharoah Sanders Ensemble w/Albert Ayler
January 21, 1968 in New York City
  1. Venus/Upper and Lower Egypt
Albert Ayler
ca. late August, 1968 in New York area
  1. untitled blues
  2. untitled sermon
  3. Thank God for Women
  4. New Ghosts [demo fragments]
Don Ayler Sextet w/Albert Ayler
January 11, 1969 in New York City
  1. Prophet John
  2. Judge Ye Not
Albert Ayler Quartet
July 28, 1970 in Village Vacances Tourisme, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France
  1. Mothers/Children
  2. untitled
  3. untitled
  4. untitled
Albert Ayler
ca. early December 1964 in Copenhagen, Denmark
Interview with Birger Jørgensen
Albert Ayler
November 11, 1966 in Copenhagen, Denmark
Interview with Birger Jørgensen
Albert Ayler
July 27, 1970 in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France
Interview with Daniel Caux
Albert Ayler
July 25, 1970 in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France
Interview with Kiyoshi Koyama
Don Cherry
unknown date, 1971 in Paris, France
Interview with Daniel Caux
PLUS: 10th Bonus Disc w/Ayler as member of U.S. Army Band!