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Charles Tyler Ensemble: Charles Tyler Ensemble

In 1960, altoist Charles Lacy Tyler met Albert Ayler in Cleveland, Ohio. After the two moved to New York City to work, having heard Tyler with Ayler’s group in the live performance that became ESP’s Bells, a prescient Bernard Stollman offered Tyler the opportunity to debut his own group on ESP. Charles Tyler Ensemble was made in 1966 in New York City. The group was unique instrumentally for its time. Tyler added to a standard trio, that included Henry Grimes on bass and Ronald Jackson on drums, drummer Charles Moffett on ‘orchestral’ vibes and Joel Friedman on cello.

Distinguishing Tyler, from Ayler, is the sourness of his flourishes. He avoids lengthy arpeggios, but tends towards eerie high tension phrases, vibratos and nearly fully-realized melodies. In the first track, “Strange Uhuru,” Tyler’s extraordinary birdlike peaks on the alto are perfectly matched with the registers of the vibes and the cello. The vibes return in “Lacy’s Out East” to interact with the bass.

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