ALBERT AYLER, the revolutionary jazz tenor saxophonist, is dead at the age of 34.
This body was taken out of New York’s East River.
His body is still in the morgue of Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn, N.Y., pending a post-mortem and coroner’s report to determine cause of death.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1936, Ayler was one of the most controversial figures jazz has produced. After playing in New York and Europe with Cecil Taylor in the early Sixties, he made a series of recordings for the ESP label which had a profound effect on younger musicians.
Invariably surrounded by critical argument and frequent derision, Ayler continued to plough his own furrow until, last year, he issued an album called New Grass, on which he sang and played in a style which mixed his old approach with commercial Rhythm and Blues.
His career had been comparatively quiet for the last couple of years, and his personal appearances had grown infrequent. His last album, Music Is The Healing Force Of The Universe (Impulse), appeared last summer, but was not released in Britain. It featured Ayler playing bagpipes for the first time on record, and also Henry Vestine, guitarist with Canned Heat.
© uncredited writer, Melody Maker, 12 December 1970