Albert Ayler's trio with Gary Peacock and Sunny Murray is best known for the July 10, 1964, recording of Spiritual Unity (ESPDISK 1002CD), the album that made both Ayler and ESP-Disk' famous when it was released in 1965. A decade after that, in 1975, ESP-Disk' also released, as Prophecy (ESP-3030), the first documentation of the group, recorded a month before Spiritual Unity by Canadian poet Paul Haines at a concert at a 91st Street club. These Cellar Café recordings are augmented here beyond the five cuts from the original Prophecy release by another six tracks from the same gig. (This edition uses the more accurate titles found on their release in the 2004 Holy Ghost box set on Revenant, rather than the fanciful titles from their 1996 first issue, as Albert Smiles with Sunny on the German label InRespect. Note also that "Wizard" on CD 1 and "The Wizard" on CD 2 are different compositions.)
1965 yielded Ayler treasures as his style shifted. The transitional Bells was just under 20 minutes, originally released in 1965 as one side of a clear vinyl LP, with the other side empty of music. It was recorded at a May 1, 1965, Town Hall concert of ESP artists, displaying Ayler's new group. Murray remained, Albert's brother Donald joined on trumpet, and Lewis Worrell held down the bass slot. The denser sound of "Bells" shows Ayler moving toward the bigger sonic statement made on Spirits Rejoice (ESPDISK 1020CD/LP, 1965), his September 23, 1965, Judson Hall session. By the way, "Bells" as heard here is not, in fact, a single composition; rather, it is a medley moving from "Holy Ghost" to an unnamed theme and then into "Bells" proper. ESP-Disk' founder Bernard Stollman was so excited by "Bells" that he released it on one side of an LP without delaying to record additional music to fill the other side. "Bells" also happens to be the recorded debut of saxophonist Charles Tyler, who would go on to record for ESP as a leader (Charles Tyler Ensemble (ESPDISK 1029CD, 1966), and Eastern Man Alone (ESPDISK 1059CD, 1967)).