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Eastern Man Alone

Charles Tyler

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An unjustly overlooked figure in the development of free jazz, Charles Tyler is best known as a sideman to the legendary Albert Ayler. Tyler had blown alto on Ayler’s Bells and Spirits Rejoice and had already cut a solo disc for ESP Records by the time he hooked up with cellist David Baker to cut Eastern Man Alone in the spring of 1967. There are elements of Tyler’s work with Ayler here; for one, Tyler's braying, insistent tone is similar to Ayler’s. And like Ayler, Tyler adapts simple folk melodies into grand fanfares that he proceeds to tear apart from the inside with atonality and dissonance. But there the similarities end; Tyler doesn’t trade in Ayler’s grandiose spirituality. If Ayler blew annunciations fit for the coming of a new messiah, Tyler announced the coming of more quotidian things, like the A train, the dope man, or Saturday night. This earthiness makes Eastern Man Alone a nice grimy counterpoint to Ayler. Along with the simultaneously reissued On the Watch by Sonny Simmons, it's one of the better early ESP jazz titles. 

Biography

Born: July 20, 1941 in Cadiz, KY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

One of the unsung baritonists in jazz, Charles Tyler had a huge tone on his instrument and played with a great deal of fire, usually in fairly free settings. After studying piano growing up in Indianapolis, Tyler switched to clarinet, alto, and finally baritone. Tyler had met Albert Ayler at age 14, and after moving to Cleveland in 1960, he had opportunities to jam with Ayler; in fact, when Tyler moved to New York in 1965, it was specifically to play with the innovative saxophonist. Soon he was part...
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Eastern Man Alone, Charles Tyler
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