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Free-Jazz Trumpeter Donald Ayler Dies at 65

Donald Ayler, a jazz trumpeter often lauded by critics and cognoscenti of free jazz, died of a heart attack in Northfield, Ohio, on Oct. 21. He was 65.

Ayler, who was usually known as Don and was the younger brother of the late, legendary tenor and alto saxophonist Albert Ayler, never received the recognition enjoyed by his sibling-in fact, Donald left behind very few recordings as a leader-but his role in Albert’s story is significant and he certainly had a following of own, albeit a relatively tiny one. He appeared with Albert on the saxist’s essential recordings, including Bells (Calibre), Spirits Rejoice (ESP-Disk), In Greenwich Village (Impulse!) and Love Cry (Impulse!). Donald’s composition “Our Prayer,” which appears on both the Slug’s recordings as well as the Greenwich Village sides, is considered one of the Albert Ayler Quintet’s classic march-style pieces.

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