Albert Ayler – Ghosts (1964)

Though many terms are often misused, there is perhaps no title that is given more freely, and more incorrectly than when an artist is referred to as “avant.” In most cases, such a title is given to any performer whose sound goes against the grain in even the slightest bit, though it should be reserved for the few that truly personify the idea. While there are a handful of examples of the avant style within the rock genres, it is far easier to spot within the world of jazz. Yet even within jazz music, there are almost “levels” of avant that one can find, and one can easily make the case that far off in his own category, representing the very essence of the term “avant jazz” is Cleveland, Ohio’s own Albert Ayler. Call his sound “free jazz” or “avant jazz,” but whatever one uses to describe his unique sound, that instantly becomes a term by which no other artist can be categorized due to the fact that Ayler’s sound is so impossible to define or duplicate. Leaving all notions of structure or modes behind, Ayler pushed the boundaries on “what” could be considered jazz music, reaching his high-point with his monumental 1964 album, Spiritual Unity. Remaining to day “the” essential jazz recording for those who wish to understand “free jazz,” the complete genius of Albert Ayler can be experienced in the two variations on his song “Ghosts” that bookend this landmark recording. [Source]







Steve Lacy – Reflections (1959)

Reflections (subtitled Steve Lacy Plays Thelonious Monk) is the second album by Steve Lacy which was released on the Prestige label in 1959. It features performances of Thelonious Monk’s compositions by Lacy, Mal Waldron, Buell Neidlinger and Elvin Jones. (According to biographer Robin Kelley, this was the first album devoted entirely to Monk’s music done by another artist.)