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Joe McPhee/Roy Campbell/William Parker/Warren Smith: Tribute to Albert Ayler: Live at the Dynamo

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On a three-week European tour in the fall of 2008, tenor sax-man Joe McPhee, drummer Warren Smith, bassist William Parker and trumpeter Roy Campbell traveled on the wings of Albert Ayler. Had it not been for producer Gérard Terronès’ persuasion, Tribute to Albert Ayler: Live at the Dynamo might have not been recorded. Clearly explained in the liner by each musician, this tour was built on the spirit, the dream and the magic of Ayler’s music, rather than its emulation. The inspiration of Ayler’s music alone became the glue that allowed the four band members, who had never worked together before, integrate their individual improvisatory languages into a sound that was meant to be.

The voice of Warren Smith starts the record speaking Aylerian poetry, whose basis is the all-encompassing theme that music is the healing force of the universe. The tenor whispers up through the words, and, successively, the chimes and tom are tapped lightly, the trumpet begins a poignant song and the bass weaves itself in, with slow pizzicato. Soon, the instruments are unified preachers of Ayler’s message.

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