Review - The Copenhagen Tapes

Artist: Albert Ayler

The Copenhagen Tapes
Label: Ayler Records -- Sweden
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: The Copenhagen Tapes

Much like many other American musicians in the mid-'60s, Albert Ayler wound up a creative expatriate in Europe, where audiences welcomed the shockingly intense sounds of the nascent "free jazz" scene. That Ayler essentially created his own sound while living in Europe -- rather than birthing it in New York and exporting it like many of his compatriots -- meant that during his short life, Europe would be much like a second home to him. Much of Ayler's prime quartet work in Europe has already been released, yet these two performances from September 1964 are truly revelatory. This was Ayler's first trip back to Europe after resettling in the United States, and by this point, he had become much more of an infamous player, emboldening the quartet (Ayler, along with Don Cherry, Sunny Murray and Gary Peacock) to deliver some of the freest and best work from their time together. Sessions from this same trip yielded the groundbreaking Ghosts album, and much of that same material gets a unique airing here, making this disc an essential addition to any Ayler-phile's collection.