Thursday, 5 January 2012

Northern Spy Releases Sax Titan Charles Gayle’s First New Studio Session in Five Years...

Digging deep into the New York downtown avant lineage, no one has inspired us more over the years than Charles Gayle. The fire, the tenderness, and yes....the controversy. Capturing the magic that we have witnessed on the bandstand so many times is no easy feat but today we are very excited to present Gayle, back on tenor for the first time in a decade, in a crystal clear studio recording.

The post-New Thing lineage is a sacred thing. In the fields sown by Ayler and Coltrane and Sanders and Shepp, the music 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 some serious intentions.

Charles Gayle: tenor saxophone
Michael TA Thompson: drums
Larry Roland: bass

Compassion I; Compassion II; Glory & Jesus; Streets; March of April; Doxology; Tribulations

February 3, Dachau/Germany
February 4, Hnita Jazz Club,Heist-op-den-Berg/Belgium
February 5, Jazzkeller, Hofheim/Germany
February 6, Stadtgarten, Cologne/Germany
February 7, La Dynamo, Pantin/France
February 9, Martinschloessl, Vienna/Austria

“Gayle’s recordings have often featured some of the most high-energy, multiphonics-driven free jazz of the past thirty years – on recordings like Touchin’ on Trane (FMP) and, especially, Consecration(Black Saint), this reaches almost unparalleled density in which the wide-open spaces of Ayler are completely filled in.”
- Clifford Allen

“There is no player on the scene today with the emotional wallop of Charles Gayle.”
- Carina Prange,

“Gayle’s greatest strength is his tone and sense of rhythm. Even his high note wails are delivered without histrionics and have a warm centre, and the polyrhythmic pulse is swing-based. His melodic lines follow patterns established by the late Albert Ayler – huge vibrato-laden ballads, intervals that sit awkwardly on the ear, improbably fast runs and sustained notes moulded by vocalised slurs and ululating trills – but his sound is entirely his own. As each improvisation evolved, hints of themes remembered coalesced before exploding into fragmented abstraction.”
- Mike Hobart

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