Arthur Doyle / June 26, 1944 - Jan 25, 2014

Happy birthday to the unsung free jazz reedsman Arthur Doyle, he of the Alabama feeling. From Birmingham, his early touring and session work came with Motown groups, including Gladys Knight & the Pips, as well as some local Southern R&B groups before he went to NYC in the late '60s.

He brought his R&B, gospel and bop chops to the city's free jazz scene and fit in his style very well with the high energy blowing music. He declined a full-time gig with Sun Ra's band to hook up with Noah Howard (the Black Ark band). The early '70s saw him laying low until he re-emerged full force with Milford Graves' band in '76, followed by his low-budget, live-recorded Alabama Feeling LP, an underground classic of fire music.

In the late '70s he joined the no-wave noise improv band The Blue Humans and recorded an intense live album (with Rudolph Grey on guitar and Beaver Harris on drums) from a 1980 performance. (The no-wave connection was not lost to time--Sonic Youth named a song after him). He moved to Paris in '82 but spent some of that time in jail. Upon release he continued working and recording right up until his death.

He dubbed his style as "free jazz soul" and composed over 300 songs, several of which he recorded on a boombox and released! (Check out his amazing version of the standard "Nature Boy"! One of my faves!). He played tenor, flute, bass clarinet, recorder and EWI, as well as piano and some unique scat vocalizing. During his career he also (aside from those mentioned above) played with Alan Silva, Pharoah Sanders, Sunny Murray, Thurston Moore, Hamid Drake, Wilbur Morris and others. Honk if you like the Arthur Doyle Electro-Acoustic Ensemble!!

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