Something Different!!!!!

My Name Is Albert Ayler


Swing Low Sweet Spiritual


Spiritual Unity

New York Eye And Ear Control

The Copenhagen Tapes


The Hilversum Session


Spirits Rejoice

Sonny’s Time Now

La Cave Live

At Slug’s Saloon

Live In Europe 1964-66

Stockholm, Berlin 1966

Lorrach/Paris 1966

Lost Performances 1966

In Greenwich Village

Love Cry

New Grass

Music Is The Healing Force Of The Universe

The Last Album

Live On The Riviera

Nuits De La Fondation Maeght


Holy Ghost


Complete List

Unreleased Recordings


Don Ayler Discography

What’s Available

The Music:

Some mp3s

Sheet Music



The Inconsistency of
Tune Titles
     Europe 1966
     Slugs’ Saloon
     La Cave






Record Reviews

Concert Reviews

Magazine covers

Images of Albert

Ayler Remembered

Appreciations of Ayler

What’s Old


What’s New

Site Search


Spiritual Unity


[LP cover of ESP 1002 pre-release, autographed, silkscreened version.]


[LP cover of Fontana SFJL933
Click image for large version.]

Spiritual Unity Picture Discthmb02

[GET 1001P (picture disc)
Click image for large version.]


[Victor Records (Japan) SMJ-9020]


[Cover of ezz-thetics 1151.
Click image for pdf of sleevenotes.]


[LP cover of ESP 1002
Click image for large version.]




[LP cover of ESP 1002,
white on black version.]


[LP cover of Explosive 538107
Click image for large version.]

[CD cover ZYX-Music ESP1002-2]


[Slip cover of Calibre CD reissue ESPCD1002]


[ESPCD 1002
2005 release]


[ESPCD 1002 - back cover
2005 release]


[PAESP-001 cassette.
Click image for large version.]

[Back cover of Victor Records (Japan) SMJ-9020]


[Box cover of The Early Albums Collection Enlightenment EN4CD9178.
 Click image for larger version and booklet]




1. Ghosts: first variation (5:01)

2. The Wizard (7:26)

3. Spirits (6:46)

4. Ghosts: second variation (10:11)

5. Vibrations (7:49)

(All compositions by Albert Ayler)



Albert Ayler (tenor saxophone)

Gary Peacock (bass)

Sunny Murray (drums)


Recording Details

July 10, 1964

New York


Release Details

Tracks 1 - 4 released as Spiritual Unity, ESP (US) 1002, (Japan) MJ7101, BT5002, 15PJ2021, SFX10712, Fontana (UK) SFJL933, ESP Explosive (France) 538.107, (Europe) 858.122FPY, America (France) AM6000, ZYX-Music (Germany) ESP 1002-2 (CD),Get Back (Italy) GET1001 (vinyl), GET 1001P (vinyl picture disc), GET 1001CD, Calibre (Netherlands) ESPCD 1002, Abraxas (Italy) ESPCD 1002, ESP (US) ESPCD 1002 (re-released in 2005, containing previously unreleased photos). Also included in The Complete Esp Disk Recordings, Abraxas (Italy) ESP1. The compilation The Artistry of Albert Ayler on Victor Records (Japan) SMJ-9020 is a double LP set of Spiritual Unity and Spirits Rejoice. March 2020 saw the release of a 4 CD boxset: Albert Ayler: The Early Albums Collection on the Enlightenment label, EN4CD9178, which included a copy of Spiritual Unity.

Tracks 1 - 5 released as Spiritual Unity (Special Limited Version 24K Gold), Venus Records (Japan) TKCZ-36010 (1996) and Spiritual Unity (50th Anniversary Expanded Edition), ESP (US) 1002 (2014). Personal Affair/ESP (US) PAESP-001 cassette release (2017). In March 2023 the 5 track version was issued with 2 tracks from My Name Is Albert Ayler (‘Summertime’ and ‘C.T.’) as Summertime To Spiritual Unity Revisited on Hat Hut Records (Switzerland) ezz-thetics 1151.


From the sleevenotes

“The symbol ‘Y’ predates recorded history and represents the rising spirit of man.”


In 2005 ESP released a digitally remastered Spiritual Unity with extra photos. The following description of the recording session is taken from the ESP website (‘B’ is ESP’s founder, Bernard Stollman):

“ESP's first recording session was on July 10, 1964, in the tiny Variety Arts Recording Studio, just off Times Square. Just before 1 PM, SUNNY MURRAY arrived, a large, genial walrus, moving and speaking with an easy agility that belied his appearance. GARY PEACOCK was next, tall, thin, ascetic looking, and soft spoken, with an introspective and kindly demeanor. ALBERT AYLER was last, small, wary and laconic. The walls of the reception area were covered with Latin album jackets. The engineer quickly set up the mikes and began the session. B sat outside in the reception area with Annette Peacock, Gary's wife. As the music was heard through the open outer door of the control room, felt a sense of jubilation. At one point, the engineer fled the control room for a few minutes, but returned in time to change the tape for the next selection. When the session was over, B learned that it had been recorded in monaural, although he remembered requesting a stereo recording. Happily, the engineer Joe had properly miked and mixed the session, and the recording stands today as a classic of the genre. After the session, the participants sat in a coffee shop next door, while they were paid and signed recording agreements. A few days later, B saw them off on their flight to Europe from Idlewild International Airport for a European tour. DON CHERRY was with them.”


The ‘Alternate Take’ of ‘Spirits’

The first pressings of Spiritual Unity contained the longer, 7:49, version of ‘Spirits’. This was then replaced with the shorter version which appeared on all the subsequent issues. In 1996 a gold CD version was released in Japan, (Venus Records TKCZ-36010), which contained both versions. According to George Scala the disc says "Special Limited Version 24K Gold" and "Venus Records Hyper Magnum Sound®", and he also sent the following photos:

gold4 gold202

In fact, the second version of ‘Spirits’ is not an alternate take but a different tune entirely. And, to confuse matters further, neither corresponds to the tune known as ‘Spirits’ elsewhere. The first version of ‘Spirits’, appearing on the initial pressings of Spiritual Unity and subsequently referred to as the ‘alternate take’ corresponds to ‘Vibrations’ on Ghosts and The Copenhagen Tapes. The second version of ‘Spirits’ which replaced the first on subsequent pressings of Spiritual Unity appears as ‘Saints’ on Witches & Devils and The Copenhagen Tapes.
Christopher Trent sent me the label below and pointed out that some versions of Spiritual Unity
(those emanating from the ESP West End Avenue address (1973-75) with the white figure on black background cover) add the subtitle, ‘(Transfiguration)’ to ‘Spirits’.


In April 2009 I emailed Bernard Stollman to see if he could clear up the ‘alternate Spirits’ question. He replied:
“I haven't a clue. This question has been raised in recent years, but I cannot shed any light today on how this occurred.”

In 2014, Martin Davidson (of Emanem Records) contacted ESP about the fifth track of Spiritual Unity. Apparently ESP had lost the track, so Martin provided a remastered copy and in August, 2014, the five track, Spiritual Unity: 50th Anniversary Expanded Edition was released. Marco Grossi sent this picture of the back cover:


The ESP site has this description of the new version:

‘For the Spiritual Unity 50th Anniversary Expanded Edition, we have added a bonus track: the performance briefly and accidentally substituted for "Spirits" on an early vinyl edition. It is the same tune known as "Vibrations" on the album of that title on Arista/Freedom (AKA Ghosts when issued on Debut) and as "[tune Q]2" on the Revenant box set Holy Ghost. It will be the first time both "Spirits" and "Vibrations" have been on a single ESP edition of Spiritual Unity. We have also just repressed the standard vinyl edition of Spiritual Unity (without the fifth track), but if you purchase it via espdisk.com, it comes with a free download including the bonus track.’

In November 2017 ESP issued a new vinyl edition of Bells with the ‘alternate take’ of ‘Spirits’ on its B-side.

And in May, 2022, Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg emailed me to say that he had just bought a copy of the French version of Spiritual Unity on the Explosive label (538.107) only to find that it contained the original version of ‘Spirits’. I have no idea how that occurred, but I find it fascinating.


Regarding the covers of Spiritual Unity, the following information is taken from Michael Fitzgerald’s ESP-disk page:

1002: Several covers: one is the black-on-white, which has been used for the Get Back vinyl reissue, the other was inverted white-on-black. There is also a copy that has red graphics on a white jacket and 200 were pressed with black ink (possible silk screened) on orange jacket.

"The first (or pre-release) is orange with red (burgundy) silk screened, orange base is painted on white cardboard cover with booklet poem by Paul Haines. The first 200 copies were numbered but unknown how many copies were pressed. There's even two label variations: One has handwritten characters printed and the other is normal (???) red with black typing." - Katsuhiro Imai

"Actually there are three cover versions, the first one being rose on white and was in mono without the Library of Congress info on the bottom of the front cover. The back cover was actually hand-written (!) and the first 100 copies came with an 12 page brochure containing several more drawings by Howard Bernstein (who also did the front-cover drawing) and Paul Haines's 11-page piece, AYLER-PEACOCK-MURRAY-YOU AND THE NIGHT AND THE MUSIC. I have this info directly from Mr. Haines." - Gregor Kessler”


The Spiritual Unity booklet


In July 2002 one of the original signed copies of Spiritual Unity was sold on ebay for $1,725. The pictures below show Albert Ayler’s signature on the sleeve and the record label.


(Album covers)



Next: New York Eye And Ear Control


Home         Biography         Discography         The Music         Archives         Links         What’s New         Site Search