October 16, 2017
Freedom of Peach
Pälsrobot Records RRCD 006
Envision Albert Ayler’s work as a Saturday morning kids’ cartoon, complete with a theme song, and you’ll get an idea of the sounds on the six-track, half-hour CD by this trio from Gothenburg, Sweden. With the same instrumentation that Ayler made his stateside recording debut on Spiritual Unity, tenor saxophonist Adrian Asling Sellius bassist Mats Dimming and percussionist Hampus Ohman-Frolund set out to make music as disquieting as Ayler’s was in 1965.
While the saxophonist’s full-frontal reed attack the bassist’s rubbing pizzicato and the drummer’s restrained beat enrichment are vehement enough, they come across not as followers of Ayler or his 1965 sidemen, Gary Peacock and Sunny Murray, but as neophyte ravers. No one should fault the band’s sincere ambitions, and historically Ayler’s sound was initially acknowledged in Sweden before it was in other countries, but Jazz and the music scene are a lot different 52 years after the Spiritual Unity, LP was first released. Free Jazz players of every size, shape and ferocity exist world-wide and most obvious difference between APUH and others is the Ramones-length duration of its tracks.
Sellius’ individuality is most prominent when on the short on long version of “De Tio” he recognizes that some of Ayler’s speaking-in-tongues came from his fundamentalist gospel background and invests some of that Pentecostal sound into his playing. When he isn’t going all out however his moderato tempo double tonguing shows he’s no Ben Webster and his reed-based emotionalism sometimes sounds more like whining than crying. While all three acknowledge the elementary nursery-rhyme cadence of some Frere Jazz none limit their technique. Dimming’s straight-ahead work on “Agaton Jonsson & Thomas Farnlof” creates a storm-proof cellar on which the other two can rampage like a musical hurricane through the edifice they’re building. Hurricane is a bit strong description when it comes to Ohman-Frolund though. On the lengthy “The South Carolina Peaches” and other tracks his popping drum beats and cymbal coloration create a subtle contrast to the reedist’s triple-tongued yodeling and fluttering split tones.
Although engaging, Freedom of Peach is still as much a sophomoric as a sophomore effort. When groups like The Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds divorced themselves from R&B and began playing their own material they became musical leaders. In another musical genre, with evolution, this could happen to APUH as well.
Track Listing: 1, De Tio 2. Mr Md 3. Agaton Jonsson & Thomas Farnlof 4. I Wanna Be A Bird 5. The South Carolina Peaches 6. De Tio
Personnel: Adrian Asling Sellius (tenor saxophone); Mats Dimming (bass) and Hampus Ohman-Frolund (drums and percussion)