Yes free jazz is a micro niche inside the niche of jazz. Those hardy souls who dare enter the realm of free jazz can gain many rewards, though it is an acquired taste.
Impulse Records probably came the closest to actually making free jazz a viable commercial music.
John Coltrane's A Love Supreme sold 500,000 records by 1970, a mind boggling number, typically only Miles Davis could command those kinds of sales with a instrumental modern jazz record.
Impulse to their credit, allowed artists like Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, and Archie Shepp incredible latitude to create new and mostly noncommercial music.
Some of the best albums from this era were from Sanders, who combined many world music elements along with a new age almost hippie culture aesthetic. His 1969 masterpiece Karma is a perfect example with vocalist Leon Thomas yodeling his was to free jazz immortality.
The pictured vinyl record is a concert album featuring the young studs of the free jazz movement, Grachan Moncur III, Shepp, Sanders, and underrated trumpeter Charles Tolliver and saxophonist Albert
I am almost ashamed to admit it I paid through the nose for this one, it was one of the last Coltrane albums I wanted for my collection, $80 was steep.
But the near mint vinyl original does sound pretty sweet sonically. The CD remastered releases adds 23 minutes of music to the album from Grachan Moncur III. Most people who can't get past the abrasive sound within free jazz, can't get to a point where they hear the blues. I know I hear it.
When I hear Albert Ayler I hear a return to the basics, a sound that goes way back to the fields possibly. Funny how the new thing sounds in many ways like the old thing.