Albert Ayler – Music is the Healing Force of the Universe (1969)
Track Listing:
1. Music is the Healing Force of the
2. Masonic Inborn, Pt. 1
3. A Man is Like a Tree
4. Oh! Love of Life
5. Island Harvest
6. Drudgery

Review by Al Campbell at Allmusic:
Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe is a powerful and often ignored recording from the Albert Ayler catalog. It is a prophetic statement dealing with guilt, confusion, sorrow, and hopes of redemption. A powerful rhythm section of Bobby Few on piano, Stafford James and James Folwell on bass, (Folwell on electric fender bass), and Muhammad Ali on drums manage to take a backseat to the prominent vocals of Ayler's business associate and girlfriend Mary Parks, listed on the record as Mary Maria. Her emotional vocals are featured on "Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe," "Man Is Like a Tree," and "Island Harvest." Throughout these tracks Maria sounds as if she is pleading and reasoning not just universally, but directly with Ayler, trying to convince him of the positive aspects of life and her evangelistic shouts of "be healed" on the title track can prove uncomfortable. "Masonic Inborn" is an instrumental track finding Ayler not only overdubbing cacophonous bagpipe solos but also playing ocarina. "Oh Love Is Life" is Ayler's sole vocal performance on the album, his words and vocal delivery are truly frightening. This is a dreamlike plea to the sources haunting his soul to succumb to universal love. Following the intensity of the previous five tracks, the album closes with the hazy gutbucket blues of "Drudgery" reminiscent of the New Grass sessions, adding guitarist Henry Vestine of the blues rock band Canned Heat. Ayler's musical curtain was eerily closing the same way it started -- playing the blues of his high school summer vacations as a member of Little Walter's band. Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe, along with tracks that were released posthumously on The Last Album, were recorded at the same session. While not easy listening, they complete an important portrait of a man facing a life and death inner struggle beyond the boundaries of jazz. The inevitable outcome culminated on November 25, 1970, when Ayler's drowned body was found floating in New York's East River. Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe was reissued for the first time on CD by Verve in March 2003.

Sonny Fortune – Awakening (1975)
Track Listing:
1. Triple Threat
2. Nommo
3. Sunshower
4. For Duke and Cannon
5. Awakening

Review by Vincent Thomas at Allmusic:
Sonny Fortune's second LP as a leader is an adequate set of mostly straight-ahead jazz, which sets it apart from many of his fusion-venturing peers of the '70s. With a slate of expert, professional sidemen (Billy Hart, John Hicks, Reggie Workman, Charles Sullivan, etc.), Awakening never amazes, but it also never disappoints. Fortune, as usual, offers several spirited solos, while his cohorts incessantly swing. Straight-ahead jazz fans will appreciate this yeoman set.


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    is a historical timeline for birthdays of blues and jazz artists and jazz album recording dates.  As our research progresses, we'll add more categories.  Look for updates each week, normally Mondays through Fridays, when we find something to share.


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