Boomkat Product Review:
Spiritual Unity was the album that brought Albert Ayler global recognition as a unique, pioneering voice in free jazz, seeing its original release in 1964. His distinctive, broad tonal presence is harnessed into one of its most recognisable melodic shapes for 'Ghosts', a piece that appears as two different variations on this album. The first opens the record, with an off-kilter swing from Sunny Murray's kit and playful yet virtuosic bass support from Gary Peacock. The second, double the length of its counterpart, returns with a replenished sense of zeal, Ayler's soloing towards the end reaching frenzied levels of expression, his wild vibrato smudging the notes together in one vast fluid gesture. This freakishly deep vibrato is best heard on 'Spirit', which takes the blistering pace down to a more exploratory level, allowing Ayler's tenor to plot out intrepid melodic trails across an unstable rhythm section, each sustained note boldly squawking with a searing sense of self-dramatisation. Anyone with even a passing interest in free jazz should consider this required listening: it's quite rightly cited as one of the key works of the movement.