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Albert Ayler

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Albert Ayler’s ‘Spiritual Unity’ Turns 50

Albert Ayler

By Kevin Whitehead, ContributorThe first edition's silkscreen cover looked sharp, but by all other indications, the Albert Ayler Trio's Spiritual Unity seemed like an offhand effort. It's not quite half an hour long, has only three tunes (one of them played twice), and was made in a couple of hours at a cheap studio with an engineer so inattentive he recorded it in mono. The first edition had to be recalled, because a wrong tune was accidentally issued in place of one selection. Weirder yet, on at least some versions, an unexplained reference tone sounds for five seconds behind "Ghosts (Second Variation)" at around the 3:20 mark. (ESP's 2014 edition corrects that — and adds that wayward wrong tune.) And yet, 50 years after it was recorded, Spiritual Unity is still the album to play for people curious about what free jazz sounds like. They can't miss the "free" part; it's in the rowdy… more »

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30 Shocking Albums

Lou Reed

By Wondering Sound Staff, ContributorNow that Halloween's over, we decided to shift the conversation away from cobwebs and costumes to an evergreen guide featuring eMusic's most shocking albums; the kind of records that have caused riots and revolutions. Or… more »

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Chris McGregor: Cape Town to Free Town

Chris McGregor: Cape Town to Free Town

By Kevin Whitehead, ContributorIt wasn't easy, being the interracial Blue Notes in 1963 apartheid South Africa: a black horns-and-rhythm combo with a white pianist/music director, Chris McGregor. They skipped out of Cape Town the following year: went to… more »

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The 13 Greatest Ghost Songs of All Time

The 13 Greatest Ghost Songs of All Time

By Mike McGonigal, ContributorIt's Halloween, which is the best holiday out of all the holidays that don't involve presents. On Halloween, everyone pretends to be afraid of ghosts, which are generally thought to be the spirits of dead… more »