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December 2000

Mount Everest Trio
Waves from Albert Ayler
Unheard Music Series/Atavistic

Mount Everest Trio's saxophonist Gilbert Holmstrom's tone's a little sharp, his sax lines are a little blunt, and his time is a little off. He's also very powerful: even when he plays with vibrato he sounds like an ass-kicker. On 1975's Waves From Albert Ayler, Holmstrom and the rest of Mount Everest-drummer Conny Sjokvist and bassist Kjell Jansson-pay tribute to the titular and fellow free-jazz butt-booter on eight tracks; three bonus cuts are added from a later session.

Mount Everest Trio was a Swedish group led by Holmstrom, and the group influenced hugely celebrated modern-day free-jazz saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, who produced this reissue for John Corbett and Atavistic's Unheard Music Series. You can see why Gustafsson, himself a fireball of unrestrained energy, digs Mount Everest. But Mount Everest also has some subtler sides, such as on the chiming, driving, droning "Orinoco," and the trio also has a way with modal funk, as on the dancing covers of Ornette Coleman's "Ramblin'" and Gary Bartz's "People's Dance."

Albert Ayler liked to mix funk with free playing, often blowing sharp, too; he would have liked this tribute.

Originally published in December 2000
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