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Label: Ayler Records
Catalog ID: aylCD-015
Squidco Product Code: 6436
Recorded live at Glenn Miller Cafe, in Stockholm, Sweden, on February 12th, 2006
Charles Gayle-alto saxophone
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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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3. Softly as in a Morning Sunrise
4. Chasing / Praising the Lord
5. Giant Steps
6. What's New
7. Holy Redemption / Ghosts
Playing time: 64:33
descriptions, reviews, &c.
"For much of this bristling 2006 Stockholm club date, Charles Gayle interprets - or shreds, depending on your vantage - iconic flag-wavers like "Cherokee" and "Giant Steps," as well as standards like "Softly in a Morning Sunrise" and "What's New." It is a welcomed reminder that free jazz is often at its best when its jazz roots are ecstatically celebrated, instead of being shrouded. Gayle wields an alto for the entire set instead of his signature tenor saxophone, resulting in a distinctive abrasive edge. Spurred on by drummer Michael Wimberley and bassist Gerald Benson, Gayle freely mixes serrated changes-referencing runs and a more directly Ayler-inspired approach. The balance tips towards the latter when Gayle calls an invocatory original composition like "Holy Redemption," which is performed in a medley with Ayler's "Ghosts" to close the album. However, the lasting impression made by the album centers on Gayle's articulation of how fierce swing morphs into pure energy, and notes into sound. In this regard, the contributions of Wimberley and Benson are crucial: it's a photo finish each time out as to who charges off the precipice first. This repertoire may have had layers of veneer-like context applied to it over the years; but, there's still raw pulp underneath, and Gayle's trio reveals it, zealously."-Bill Shoemaker/Point of Departure.
With video supplementation in the "AYVI-System" through Ayler's website.
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