Charles Gayle : alto saxophone, piano | Dominic Duval : Bass | Arkadijus Gotesmanas : drums, percussions
Tracks : Side A: * 1. HEARTS CRY 16’48” * 2. THE FLOOD 5’04” Side B: * 3. LOVE CHANGES 8’38” * 4. COMPASSION 7’24” * 5. OUR SOULS 7’08”
All pieces composed by Charles Gayle (JUMBA, ASCAP), Dominic Duval (KATDOM BMI) and Arkadijus Gotesmanas (LATGAA). * recorded 20th June 2009 in Vilnius , at Piano LT. * mixed and mastered by Arunas Zujus at MAMAstudios. * the idea of this session belongs to Arkadijus Gotesmanas * pictures made by Valerij Anosov * design by Oskaras Anosovas. * executive producer – Danas Mikailionis. * co-producer – Valerij Anosov. Limited Edition of 500 records. Numbered copies.
THIS ALBUM IS DEDICATED TO RASHIED ALI
born 1939, a saxophonist, pianist, clarinettist and percussionist, is one the most bizarre personalities on free jazz scene. Some of Gayle’s history is unclear – he is not inclined to go into details when asked about his past. He was apparently homeless for roughly 20 years, playing saxophone on street corners and subway platforms around New York City. He was poor and homeless, relying on donations from passers-by for income.
Born in Buffalo, Gayle began playing music at the age of nine. Except for a couple of years of piano lessons as a child, he was self-taught. Piano was his first and only instrument until he picked up a saxophone when he was 19. In the early 60s, he started visiting New York and jammed with Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders among other free jazz pioneers. After moving to New York City in 1972, Gayle led life of a recluse-musician. He made his first significant impact on the free jazz scene with a series of critically acclaimed New York performances at the Knitting Factory in the mid-to late 80s. In 1988, he gained fame through a trio of albums recorded by a Swedish label, Silkheart Records. Since then he has become a major figure in free jazz, recording for labels including FMP (Germany), Knitting Factory Records and Black Saint.
Gayle’s discography amounts to 30 albums. He has performed and recorded with Cecil Taylor, William Parker, Rashied Ali and John Tchicai. In terms of improviser’s talent and emotional charge of his music Gayle can compete with any giant on today’s jazz scene. The saxophonist’s hyper-kinetic free expressionism draws on stylistic devices pioneered in the 60s by the late free jazz icon Albert Ayler. Timbral distortion is a key aspect of Gayle’s work. His improvisations feature huge intervallic leaps, screaming multiphonics, and a density of line that evidences a remarkable dexterity in all registers of his instrument. Gayle is also capable of great lyricism, imbued with the same bracing intensity present in his high-energy work.
Gayle’s childhood was influenced by religion, and his musical roots trace to black gospel music. His music is spiritual, and heavily inspired by the Old and New Testaments. He has explicitly dedicated several albums to God. Indeed, in his concerts Gayle often preaches a religious message and is open about his political views. Sometimes, his concerts remind performances: he dresses as a character he called “Streets the Clown,” complete with costume and face paint. In 2001, Gayle recorded an album titled “Jazz Solo Piano”. In 2006, he followed up with a second album of solo piano, featuring original material, titled “Time Zones”. source
LP version (incl. shipment cost world-wide)
Free jazz saxophonist and pianist Charles Gayle has had a fascinating career moving from busking in subways to playing live around the world. This album is a well played trio outing that is very free, but well controlled, with Gayle focusing on alto saxophone and piano improvising with Dominic Duval on bass and Arkadijus Gotesmanas on drums and percussion. The lengthy performance of “Hearts Cry” opens the album with raw saxophone and drums reaching deep. Duval gets a bass interlude that he uses to explore silence and space, before making way for Gotesmanas with brushes, beats and scrapes. Gayle returns strong and leads the three on a raw and exciting collective improvisation, getting a deep and gritty/granular tone from his saxophone.
“The Flood” has spare piano with percussion and bass, developing into an ominous performance that rumbles darkly. The music darts and weaves, skittering into a caffeinated trio section as dynamic waves of music attack and recede. Fast bass and dexterous brushes begin “Love Changes” with Gayle adding long tones of yearning saxophone, and developing a three way collective improvisation that becomes a raw and unfettered performance.
“Compassion” has probing saxophone and thoughtful, subtle bass that has a thick and elastic tone that stretches and compresses time. Strong, supple and controlled saxophone works within the group, never overwhelming, developing to an interesting section of bowed bass and light saxophone swirls. The album is concluded with “Our Souls,” opening with abstract bowed bass and percussion and spare piano notes ringing. Saxophone and percussion sounding raw and distant pick up the pace to a near frantic level abetted by strong drumming and sawing bass and chanting to a wild conclusion.
This was a strong and powerful album for freely improvised jazz, and one of the more accessible Gayle led sessions I have heard. Duval was superb throughout acting like a pivot point for the saxophone, piano and drums to revolve. Gotesmanas played a variety of percussion that kept the rhythm constantly shifting and Gayle was lucid and thoughtful on both instruments making for a very solid and powerful set of music.
Recorded live in June of this year at PIANO.LT in Vilnius, Lithuania, this new limited edition LP on the NoBusiness label will surely please the fans of Charles Gayle, who has now completely switched to alto. Dominic Duval plays bass and Arkadijus Gotesmanas drums, the latter one having taken the initiative for this session that is dedicated to the late Rashied Ali with whom Gayle performed a lot.
“Hearts Cry”, the long first piece has Gayle on alto, playing quite intensely around a limited tonal center, without much highs or lows, all within a close range, taking some distance for a few moments to let Duval solo time, yet coming in again relentlessly. On “The Flood” he switches to piano, using extended techniques and dark, menacing thundering chords, alternated with quick runs with the right hand, sounding like flowing water, then slowing down to individual drops. “Love Changes” is more down-tempo, with the saxophonist moving into more spiritual blowing, measured almost, “Compassion” is boppish, with Duval’s walking bass the solid backbone for the tune that slows down into what I think is the best part of the album, with more sensitive, heart-rending wailing, softer, with more tension and that moves seamlessly into the title track, with Duval’s arco forming the bridge to Gayle’s quick avant-garde piano intermezzo before all hell breaks loose again with the leader on sax and piano and shouts. Kudos to Gotesmanas here too, because his previous functional support, to a large extent co-determines the overall sound of the last piece. The crowd reacts enthusiastically. A nice addition to Gayle’s catalogue without being essential. And yes … LPs are short, too short …