Albert Ayler Festival

Four decades ago, the lifeless body of Albert Ayler surfaced in the East River. It's morbidly fitting, then, that this tribute to the saxophonist—quite possibly the most intensely cathartic improviser jazz has ever known—will take place on Roosevelt Island, situated within that same body of water. But this lengthy free-jazz matinee and record fair, hosted by the ESP-Disk label and taking place three days before what would've been the honoree's 74th birthday, doubles as a celebration of the happier fates of four still-active Ayler contemporaries: Marshall Allen (86), Gunter Hampel (72), Giuseppi Logan (75) and Charles Gayle (71). Each man offers his own brand of expressionism today, alongside younger heavyweights such as Louie Belogenis and William Hooker.