Frank Wright Quartet – Blues for Albert Ayler

John Coltrane’s drummer during his free jazz period was Rashied Ali. He had his own studio in New York called Ali’s Alley and this album was recorded live there in 1974. Frank Wright (sax/flute/vocals) is the leader of the quartet that was comprised of Rashied Ali (drums), James “Blood” Ulmer (guitar), and Benny Wilson (bass). The tribute to Wright’s mentor Albert Ayler, which was recorded on Ayler’s birthday, is one complete piece of music that has been broken into six parts. Each man plays their instrument like their hair is on fire with plenty of intensity. The result is a high energy live music in which the players are all taking chances with what they are doing. I could swear that Wright’s sax was actually screaming at certain points. Another standout was the unique phrasing of Ulmer’s guitar playing. Don’t look for lots of melody here as they are playing free jazz or basically improve with some structure. Interesting little touches of R&B and blues in the music.

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