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Charles Gayle

When the opportunity to record (for the label Knitting Factory, the one that “discovered” him) arrived in the Eighties, Charles Gayle was a homeless playing in subway stations for a dime. Everything changed in his life since then, and like in a fable made of magic and wonder he is now a star in the jazz firmament. From the streets of New York to the hotels of the world, his story is of the sort that turns legend, just like what happened to Harry Partch and Moondog. And the tenor saxist / bass clarinetist / pianist / violinist / drummer is making use of that image with his persona Streets The Clown. With a red nose and painting in his face, Gayle acts like a sad clown in the circus of life, making jokes out of his pain. He says that, if some of it is “about social and political stuff”, his concerns are mostly dictated by the heart, not the mind or the guts. Even so, is with his guts that he plays. Like Albert Ayler, his most audible influence, he cries and moans and protest and shout, but not in rage. He plays for God and with the purpose to get near Him, and even in this Charles Gayle continues the tradition pioneered by Ayler and another tenor master with religious convictions, John Coltrane. The energy and impact of his music made a fan in post-punk vocalist and poet Henry Rollins, and is with no surprise that we find Gayle playing in some tracks of an album by the Rollins Band, “Weighting”, or suporting musically, with Rashied Ali at his side (Coltrane’s partner in the essential “Interstellar Space”), a Rollins spoken word CD, “Everything”. And guess what, Gayle plays drums in a Rudolph Grey’s Blue Humans disc, “Live in London 1994” – a free jazz meets free rock hurricane of polyrhythms and guitar feedback.

Charles Gayle's records on clean feed
Shout
Charles Gayle
Considering the Lilies
Charles Gayle
 
     
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