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Gayle, Charles Trio: Spirits Before (Silkheart)

Charles Gayle's trio in 1988 studio recordings from NYC in his trio with Sirone and Dave Pleasant, "muscular, impassioned, and wonderfully volatile" free jazz.

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product information:

UPC: 099792011721

Label: Silkheart
Catalog ID: SHCD 117
Squidco Product Code: 10796

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 1999
Country: Sweden
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded April 13 & 14, 1998 at A&R Recording Studio, New York City


Charles Gayle-tenor saxophone


Dave Pleasant-drums

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track listing:

1. Eternal Now 7:35

2. Spirits Before 17:49

3. Heart's Nectar 9:53

4. Earth's Families 7:57

5. Give 6:50

6. Black Oil 8:05

7. Sometimes 9:04
Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Trio Recordings
Trio Recordings
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descriptions, reviews, &c.

Liner Notes from Irving and Stephanie Stone

"A very private man, tenor saxophonist Charles Gayle's early career in music is shrouded in mystery. Raised in Buffalo, New York, Gayle was part of New York's free jazz movement in the late 1960's, but he has chosen to remain out of the spotlight, shunning the business of music.

Charles Gayle has appeared on the New York Club and loft scene maybe half a dozen times in the past fifteen years and somehow or other we've managed to hear him in all kinds of different settings, always forthrightly projecting his personal approach to playing. He has always been a gut player, with ideas and no fear.

To all intents and purposes, Charles was living up the streets of New York in 1987 when we approached him with the idea of letting more people hear his music. The result was that be organized a trio with Hill Green on bass and David Pleasant on drums, which made its debut at the 4th Lower East Side Music Festival. From then on the Charles Gayle Trio began to generate a great deal of excitement and interest on the New York music scene.

His music has a strength, a purity and a beauty that is completely spontaneous and devoid of pretence. We discussed his approach to the music with Charles and his reply was, "The music I am playing at this point is totally spontaneous, nothing set - just go for the Spirit, the Holy Ghost. I feel I am pushing for the Black Sanctified Spirit beyond the ego consciousness. I always feel uplifted and filled with the Holy Black Spirit - propelled (or drawn) to the unconscious."

This album represents an overture to the music and musicians who have preceeded him - Charles feels he owes them. For our part, we find that blues, gospel, avant-garde, the music of changes, etcetera - somehow all-inclusive in these works.

We've had the opportunity of hearing Charles a good deal during the past year and have begun to understand that his music is forever changing, with a constant stream of fresh ideas and new searchings. Very particular directions have been set up and pursued from one gig to the next and, as avid listeners, we can only hope that Charles Gayle's wider audience will have a chance to hear this outpouring of musical directions as they unfold.

We feel compelled to include portions of an article in the New York Times for Thursday, September 3rd, 1987, written by music critic Jon Pareles:

"The challenge of free jazz is to create coherent, compelling music without such obvious devices as melody, recurring chord sequences or a steady beat. It's a challenge that has defeated many a virtuoso since the free-jazz heyday of the 1960's. But Charles Gayle, a tenor saxopbonist, is carving out a free jazz that is muscular, impassioned, clearly structured and wonderfully volatile.

Mr. Gayle plays contours and textures rather than melodies, using a different range and technique for each composition. He gets a huge saxophone tone, whether he's playing wide-open low notes or shrieking overtones, and he holds the stage with calm dignity while generating a fusillade of music.

Mr. Gayle's trio makes music to move mountains by."

We realize, of course, that words are an implication of reality. For the past forty years we've witnessed the music and musicians at first hand from generation to generation, the greats and the near-greats. On an average of four or five nights a week in all those years we've seen them all. We express this to give credence to our words when we say that Charles Gayle will definitely get your attention if you dare to listen to him."

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