Saxophonist Albert Ayler would have been 79 years old today. The style of jazz he pioneered in the mid 1960s was simultaneously sing-songy and tune-based and wildly free-form and out-there. You either love or hate his stuff; there can be no middle ground. I myself find it nothing short of ecstatic, and love the ways it connects to church and marching band music —but often just obliquely.
Ayler, who was notoriously found face-down in NYC's East River in November of 1970, was born in Cleveland Heights, Ohio in 1936. His grave is just two miles from where I went to elementary school in the 1970s; I really should visit it someday.
Anyway, as the headline says, today is this fabulous artist's birthday, so let's celebrate his ground-breaking music by listening to it all day, and all night. The excellent and rarely screened documentary My Name Is Albert Ayleris viewable here.