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Gayle, Charles: Unto I Am (Les Disques Victo)

"The first completely solo Charles Gayle recording was recorded during a break in the Victoriaville Festival in 1994. Gayle went into a Montreal studio and played tenor on three tracks and bass clarinet on one, and preached while accomp...
 

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product information:


UPC: 77740500325

Label: Les Disques Victo
Catalog ID: VICCD032
Squidco Product Code: 23971

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 1994
Country: Canada
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at Silent Sound Studio, in Montreal, Quebec, on September 3rd, 1994).


Personnel:

Charles Gayle-bass clarinet, drums, piano, tenor saxophone, voice

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Artist Biographies:

"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:

First of all, I played to play because I need to play. Second of all, the money, a dollar meant a lot to me at that time. Playing out there is obviously different than playing on a stage but that is so rich out there. It's such a whole 'nother world of playin'. I mean I used to walk from Times Square, for instance, all the way to Wall Street playin'. I could walk back and never stop playing. I didn't think about it as anything other than what it was. These were people and I wasn't overly concerned with what they thought. I was playing, I had to play. Also I had to eat some way and I'm not the type to put my hand out. I'd stand there playing with a coffee cup sometime and people would put money in my coffee [Laughs] and you don't get that on the stage. That's beautiful.

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)
5/18/2022

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:


1. Innocent 13:22

2. Pastures Colors 11:50

3. Eden Lost 10:53

4. Good Shepherd 11:25

5. Childs Love 10:59
sample the album:








descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The first completely solo Charles Gayle recording was recorded during a break in the Victoriaville Festival in 1994. Gayle went into a Montreal studio and played tenor on three tracks and bass clarinet on one, and preached while accompanying himself on drums on one track and piano on another. What does it sound like? The tenor improvisations you can guess: it is a kind of bleating unto the heavens from the soul through the bell of the horn. This is no light statement; Gayle can play tenor saxophone with the best of them. He understands all of the intricacies of musical architecture implicitly, but it's of no consequence here. This is prayer. Indeed, all these pieces are prayer in its purest form: direct communication between Gayle and his God. It doesn't matter so much whether they are understood by the rest of humanity so much as they are heard and encouraged, in our way, to speak in the same manner. On "Eden Lost," Mr. Gayle is playing the piano and preaching fire and brimstonefrom the Bible. He is laying out the salvation plan of Jesus Christ while improvising like Keith Tippett more than Cecil Taylor. There is more openness in Gayle's playing than Taylor's, though at times it is just as intense. On "Pastures Color," Gayle is mining the territory first veined by Albert Ayler. In Gayle's phrasing are hymns and sacred songs interspersed with cries from the heart that express the bond of love between God and man -- in Gayle's view. Unto I Am may not be everybody's cup of shed blood, but there can be no denying that is inspired, divinely or otherwise."-Thom Jurek

Related Categories of Interest:

May 2017
Victo
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Jazz
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Recordings by or featuring Reed & Wind Players
Solo Artist Recordings


 
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