Albums by Albert Ayler (Spiritual Unity, Spirits Rejoice) and Patty Waters (Sings, College Tour) are oft-referenced gatekeepers of the ESP-Disk’ aesthetic—you can read more about them in our feature story on the label. But ESP released more than 100 remarkable albums during its first run, with dozens more coming since its 21st-century resurrection. Here are just a few that should be heard, all of which are available either through ESP’s website or its Bandcamp page.
John Tchicai (alto saxophone) and Roswell Rudd (trombone) made a compelling frontline for this group, which also included Lewis Worrell (bass) and ESP regular Milford Graves (drums). Compared to Albert Ayler’s rollicking originals, the New York Art Quartet played a more restrained version of free music, while retaining plenty of bite. Amiri Baraka (known at that time as LeRoi Jones) joins the group on one track, reading “Black Dada Nihilismus.”Learn more at Amazon!