Legendary NY free jazz saxophonist Charles Gayle takes to "the streets" with his trio of bassist Larry Roland and drummer Michael TA Thompson in a record illustrating Gayle's passionate voice and expressive dialog.
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Label: Northern Spy
Catalog ID: NSCD018
Squidco Product Code: 15641
Recorded in May 2011 at Seizures Palace Recording.
Charles Gayle-tenor saxophone
Michael TA Thompson-drums
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• Show Bio for Charles Gayle
"Charles Gayle (born February 28, 1939) is an American free jazz musician. Initially known as a saxophonist who came to prominence in the 1990s after decades of obscurity, Gayle also performs as pianist, bass clarinetist, bassist, and percussionist.
Charles Gayle was born in Buffalo, New York. Some of his history has been unclear due to his reluctance to talk about his life in interviews. He briefly taught music at the University at Buffalo before relocating to New York City during the early 1970s.
Gayle was homeless for approximately twenty years, playing saxophone on street corners and subway platforms around New York City. He has described making a conscious decision to become homeless: "I had to shed my history, my life, everything had to stop right there, and if you live through this, good, and if you don't, you don't. I can't do the rent, the odd jobs, the little rooms, scratchin', and all that, no!" At the same time, this allowed Gayle to devote most of his time to playing music, although he often earned less than US$3 a day from busking:
When Gayle first set out on the streets, he did not imagine he would remain homeless as long as he did, although he estimates that this period lasted closer to fifteen years than twenty.
In 1988, he gained fame through a trio of albums recorded in one week and released by Swedish label, Silkheart Records. Since then he has become a major figure in free jazz, recording for labels including Black Saint, Knitting Factory Records, FMP, and Clean Feed. He has also taught music at Bennington College.
Gayle's music is spiritual, and heavily inspired by the Old and New Testaments. Gayle explains, "I want the people to enjoy the music and if it, in anyway can suggest something about the Lord, for their benefit, that would be first in my mind." He has explicitly dedicated several albums to God. His childhood was influenced by religion, and his musical roots trace to black gospel music. He has performed and recorded with Cecil Taylor, William Parker, and Rashied Ali. Gayle's most celebrated work to date is the album Touchin' on Trane (FMP) with Parker and Ali, which received the "Crown" accolade from the Penguin Guide to Jazz.
Though he established his reputation primarily as a tenor saxophonist, he has increasingly turned to other instruments, notably the piano (which was, in fact, his original instrument) and alto saxophone. More controversially, he has sometimes included lengthy spoken-word addresses to the audience in his concerts touching on his political and religious beliefs: "I understand that when you start speaking about faith or religion, they want you to keep it in a box, but I'm not going to do that. Not because I'm taking advantage of being a musician, I'm the same everywhere, and people have to understand that." Gayle sometimes performs as a mime, "Streets the Clown." "Streets means to me, first, a freedom from Charles. I'm not good at being the center of attentionÉ. It's a liberation from Charles, even though it's me on the stage, it's a different person."
In 2001, Gayle recorded an album entitled Jazz Solo Piano. It consisted mostly of straightforward jazz standards, and is a response to critics who charge that free jazz musicians cannot play bebop. In 2006, Gayle followed up with a second album of solo piano, this time featuring original material, entitled Time Zones."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Gayle)
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• Show Bio for Larry Roland
"Larry Roland, poet, bassist, composer, educator, and music producer, has been involved with the creative performance scene for close to 4 decades. His music and poetry has graced National and International Concert Halls, Radio, Television, the Internet; as well as, parks, street corners, outdoor theaters and private living rooms.
Larry graduated from Boston University in 73' with a BS in Education, and a Masters from the University of Massachusetts in 97'.
His poetry career began at BU, and his Bass discovery started in 76' while running a coffee house in the south end of Boston.
Larry has had a wealth of experiences as a performer and a producer.The following is a highlight of some of the activities he's been involved with from 'then' till 'now'.
From 74-84' Larry performed as Poet and Bassist with Jamyll Jones, " Worlds Experience Orchestra". That group recorded two albums, "The Beginning of a New Birth" and "As Time Flows On", which are today considered collectors items.(You Tube).
In 84-88', house band at Wally's in Boston. Wally's is a very popular establishment where the Established, as well as, the young cutting edge musicians from the surrounding formidable music schools (Berklee, N.E. Conservatory, etc.) cut their teeth before moving on to NYC, and other places.
In 89', Larry was invited Perform with the Raphe' Malik band, and went on the road performing throughout the east coast, Canada and Europe from 91-94'. This band recorded "21st Century Texts"...Live in Berlin in 91' on the FMP lable; Raphe' was a fiery free improvisationalist trumpet player and composer who had been in the Great Cecil Taylor Unit Bands with Jimmy Lyons for several years. Other albums recorded with this group were, "Bells, Whistles, AND Sirens", on the Mapleshade label in the early 90s; and in 99', "Looking East", recorded live by the Boxholder label at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Boston, Ma.
In 96', Larry struck up a musical collaboration and formed the "Urge 4Tet" with Donel Fox, a noted Award Winning Pianist and contemporary classical composer; and Waldron Ricks, a talented trumpeter/composer; and developed a repertoire consisting of originals and non-originals, then set out and toured Southern France in the summer of 97'; The concerts on that tour were recorded, and the CD of that tour, "21st. Century Decisions" on the Boston Composers Group Label, was released it in 2000.
In 2001, Larry released the solo bass and word CD, "As Time Flows On", on his Boston Composer Group Label.One of the pieces on that CD, "The Underground"(Bass with Poetry), was used as a interweaving theme in the Award Winning Indie film documentary, "The History of Jazz In Roxbury" by Taliba Kennedy.
In 2004', Larry met Award Winning Dancer/Choreographer, Adrienne Hawkins, and decided to team up with her after she had been using the CD, "As Time Flows On", for live performances at Dance Festivals and other functions. Out of this collaboration, "Bassline Motion" was created. At first, Larry and Adrienne performed together as a duet, then eventually increased the group to include, 4 musicians and 8 dancers. They both decided on a Theme, while Larry developed the music and poetry, as Adrienne created the movements to ride the music, and to compliment the words. "Bassline Motion" performed in museums, outdoor festivals, universities, art galleries, jazz clubs, poetry gatherings, etc.
2009, Charles Gayle, a highly noted saxophonist on the NY and International Jazz improvisational scene, invited Larry to perform at a major Jazz Festival in Mexico City. .....it turned out to be very successful. In 2010, the trio toured Portugal and the Azores.In the winter of 2012, one of the coldest in European memory, the same trio was involved in a 10-city tour that took them through the countries of France, Austria, Belgium, and Germany. In March of 2011', and after not having recorded in over 10 years, The Charles Gayle Trio released a CD entitled, "Streets". It is said to be one of the top selling CDs of its genre on the European scene.
Currently, Larry is involve with several different projects of his own while writing poetry and music in preparation to present some more of his documented work to whoever will watch and listen in the 21st century.
In the meantime, 2012, Larry has been invited to be a part of the, "We Free Strings" group of which he has become a significant contributor to its repertoire as bassist/poet and composer. In Dec. of 2012, Larry was able to successfully produce the groups first major concert, The Larry Roland Project, Live at "The Stone" located in New York City's' East Village, featuring "We Free Strings".... (You Tube)"-Larry Roland Website (https://www.ogijaz.com/about_sample.html)
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1. Compassion I 5:16
2. Compassion II 6:43
3. Glory & Jesus 9:12
4. Streets 10:34
5. March Of April 9:25
6. Doxology 10:47
7. Tribulations 8:32
sample the album:
"The post New Thing lineage is a sacred thing. In the fields sown by Ayler and Coltrane and Sanders and Shepp, the music is free and flowing without ego but with purpose. It's a judgment call of course, but the proponents are arguably few.
Without attaching too many words to it, it's a style of playing that's something spiritual, something other, a connectivity between the players and with the listener. And without overly delineating who's in and who's out, it's certain that Gayle is a master of the form.
Deeply committed to free improvisation and the jazz tradition in all its manifestations, Gayle is a blazing saxophonist, a fluent pianist and, has more recently been playing the double bass. Here he is heard at his best, in classic form on the tenor horn with an exhilarating trio.
The title and cover here evoke a character Gayle took to portraying onstage back in the 1990s, a bit of social commentary using the familiar face of a sad clown (read Emmett Kelly or even Charlie Chaplin), using a tragic face with no comedic angle to reflect on his own homeless days. But the music within is all new, recorded in the studio this year with Gayle heard on tenor exclusively joined by longtime timekeeper Michael TA Thompson on drums and Larry Roland on bass.
To say that he recalls the pilgrims of free jazz is no small praise, but it's not to lock him in the past. At 72, Gayle remains a vital force. The Streets are paved with some serious intentions."-Norther Spy
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
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