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Title: Spiritual Unity
Label: Pi 15           Country: USA
Format: CD           Status: AVAILABLE           $15.00

Description: Featuring Marc Ribot on guitar & production, Roy Campbell on trumpets, Henry Grimes on double bass and Chad Taylor on drums. This is an extraordinarily spirited tribute to the mighty Albert Ayler, the great grand-master saxist of free jazz who died mysteriously some 35 years ago and whose influence and body of recorded work continues to grow each year. In the past year alone, we've seen the incredible 'Holy Ghost' 10 CD set, the previously unreleased 'Live on the Riviera' plus reissues of 'Spiritual Unity' and 'Vibrations' (a/k/a 'Ghost'). Word is that the newly reconstituted ESP is trying to put out another box-set of all the Freedom material. Spirits rejoice!
Local guitar hero, Marc Ribot (Electric Masada & Los Cubanos), is a longtime fan of Ayler's and has performed Albert's songs throughout the years. On 'Spiritual Unity', Ribot has put together a marvelous downtown all-star quartet, each member from much different backgrounds, yet united in their vision to bring this spirit music back to life. The long-lost legendary bassist, Henry Grimes, who disappeared from the scene for some thirty years, played with Albert Ayler on a few his Ayler's seminal recordings & concerts. Obviously, Mr. Grimes, who is playing better than ever is the perfect choice for this perfect quartet. Multi-trumpet ace, Roy Campbell, is everywhere and playing creatively in too many bands/situations to mention here. Former Chicago-based drummer, Chad Taylor also keeps immensely busy in numerous bands since moving here in a few years back.
The quartet cover five of Ayler's special songs, each is done with that cosmic spirit that Ayler's music so often embodied. "Invocation" is a most appropriate opening tune, the spirits swirling around one another in a flurry of intense inter-action. It is a marvel to hear Marc (guitar) and Roy (trumpet) dancing and darting with that hypnotic melody, as Henry (bass) and Chad (drums) weave some intricate rhythmic/melodic tapestry underneath. "Spirits' again takes off for the stratosphere quickly, burning and buzzing with powerful soaring activity. Ribot goes for it and takes one of those killer solos that hasn't been captured on record as often as we (his fan-addicts) would like. Both Mr. Grimes on bowed bass and Roy on (pocket?) trumpet also take colossal solos, both separately and together. "The Truth is Marching In" is one of those slower, yet mesmerizing pieces that Ayler did so well. It is an odd sort-of march that flows in sections, organically changing tempos as it speeds up and slows down again. Marc and Roy again solo together in a dazzling display of righteous communion, with Henry bowing in his unique, frenzied way as Chad spins his percussive storm in waves below. "Saints" is a spacious, freer piece that is quite dream-like in the way that it floats between worlds of wakefulness and sleep. Albert Ayler's classic "Bells" was recorded live at Tonic and it is an amazing side-long epic, with another insane march-like section and an outstanding solos from Marc (strangle those notes!), Roy and Henry. Truly, a colossal effort from all participants involved. Do not miss them when they play again! - BLG
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