Three weeks before this trio recorded ESP-Disk’s first jazz album, the epochal Spiritual Unity, it was captured “live” by Canadian poet Paul Haines (who also recorded the New York Eye and Ear soundtrack [ESP1016]). This is one of the most influential groups in jazz history, a coming together of like-minded innovators who would be considered crucial influences by succeeding generations, so there is no question of the immense value of this material. Yoked, in the CD era, to the one-sided LP Bells, made with a different band in a very different style a year later, it is perhaps best appreciated on its own.
4-1/2 stars – All Music Guide
“… contains excellent trio versions of several of Ayler’s signature tunes. The ripping take on “Ghosts (First Variation)” finds Ayler in heavy honk mode as he sandwiches eight minutes of furious double-time runs between statements of the uplifting, childlike theme. “The Wizard” and “Prophecy” are excellent demonstrations of the band’s ability to chip away at a lovely tune until the ground is clear for playful collective improvisation. Throughout this date Ayler’s playing has a lumbering gravity that contrasts with the rhythm section; drummer Sunny Murray works with a speedy but delicate touch and bassist Gary Peacock takes a careful, restrained approach. The resulting tension, applied to a strong selection of Ayler compositions, shows this key trio at its best.” – Mark Richardson, Pitchfork.com
1. Ghosts: First Variation
3. Ghosts: Second Variation