The steady reissue of releases from Bernard Stollman’s ESP-Disk label (when will they get to their long-elusive Ran Blake Plays Solo Piano date?) is quite welcome. ESP was one of the top free-jazz/avant-garde labels during the second half of the 1960s, and some of their albums were both historic and, eventually, very valuable to collectors. Ornette Coleman Town Hall 1962 features the earliest recording of the Ornette Coleman Trio with bassist David Izenzon and drummer Charles Moffett. The set is highlighted by excellent performances from the trio (including a 23 1/2-minute version of “The Ark”) plus Coleman’s first classical work, “Dedication to Poets and Writers,” performed by a string quartet. New York Eye and Ear Control features very spirited playing from tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler and his sextet with trumpeter Don Cherry, altoist John Tchicai and trombonist Roswell Rudd. They perform two lengthy works recorded for the soundtrack of the film Walking Woman in 1964. Don Cherry’s previously unreleased Live at Café Montmartre 1966 Volume Two finds the relatively mellow-toned trumpeter teamed with the intense tenor solos of Gato Barbieri (during his most fiery period) and vibraphonist Karl Berger in a quintet. “Suite for Albert Ayler” is a highlight.
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