|Since 2001 we have been waiting for a new Charles Gayle tenor saxophone recording. Four years is a long time in the career of someone who has been exploring some of the most interesting realms of contemporary jazz music. It has also been a very long time, considering that Charles Gayle has such an extremely personal and original style.
Nevertheless, here it is! Gayles newest recording, Shout! Where the music picks up on a prolific recording career, with excellence as a dominant characteristic. If we compare Shout! with previous recordings, what strikes us immediately is a different tone, a new form and a unexpected sense of direction as well as density. Nonetheless, the music is still faithful to the ‘gaylean’ principle of creating music of unquestionable beauty and restless spirituality.
Critics and biographers alike are unanimous in describing Gayle’s live performances as physical as well as permeated with a unique kind of intensity. Born in Buffalo, New York, the musicians ascension from poverty to ‘stardom’, in the avant-garde ‘milieu’ has become almost mythical; specially if we take into consideration a period of twenty years as a homeless person, sleeping in back alleys and playing the streets and the subway.
Also surprising is how broad the spectrum is between those who advocate his music and those who criticize it. This is only possible due to the fact that this music leaves no one indifferent. It is extreme, visionary, but simultaneously it is filled with the kind of ecstasy that only beauty can provoke; as raw as untamed nature.
Gayle is a mystic who speaks to men like a prophet about what he considers as transcendental, using his electrifying tenor saxophone to convey that message. Although he is far from being an academic, Gayle has surprised many due to his rare command of technique and the form that structures his improvisations.
Considering he confesses his love for Armstrong, above all, certainly he also assimilated Lester Young, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler. In this respect Gayle is unquestionably part of the tradition.
He is a master when it comes to leaping between the low registers and the altissimo range of his horn. With this technique he has freed himself from formal constraints, even when interpreting such standards as appear in this CD: I Remember You and I Can’t Get Started. For this reason previous records including, Homeless, Repent, Testaments, Consecration or Daily Bread, many prove difficult listening for most jazz lovers. Regardless of any apparent rawness, Shout! exhibits a sensitive improviser, full of soul and in perfect control of the song format.
Charles Gayle usually prefers live recordings but here we catch him in the studio accompanied by two great partners: Sirone on double-bass and Gerald Cleaver on trap drums. Sirone has participated in previous projects with Gayle: Spirits Before, Homeless and Always Born. In the seventies he was part of the Revolutionary Ensemble, playing also with Marion Brown, Dave Burrell, Pharoah Sanders, Albert Ayler and Sunny Murray.
Gerald Cleaver, from Detroit, has regularly accompanied Charles Gayle. He is a powerful drummer, with a flexible style that alongside Sirone forms a perfect rhythmic backdrop to Gayles new adventure. There is something grand and even romantic to their music. We hope you dig it as much as we do!