Tuesday, January 10, 2006
By Any Means
While I imagine many people went to this show to hear either Rashied Ali (last drummer for John Coltrane) or Wiliam Parker (the IT bassist in the NYC downtown music scene - and for good reason), I went to see Charles Gayle, a saxophonist who has been around since the inception of free jazz but spent most of his career in complete obscurity, including many years without a home. What I find intriguing about Gayle is that he has historically been a big talker on stage. He was reviled for conservative views on abortion and talking about Christ on stage though he spent quite a bit of time also talking about inequality, homelessness and poverty - or so I've read. This led to his exclusion from the music scene to a large degree and only recently has he started to come back onto the radar.
Gayle is a monster player, part John Coltrane, part Albert Ayler mixed with bop technique, Gayle's music makes for great listening. Live he creates intricate and beautiful lines as well as screaming noises. What's also interesting about him is that he has abandoned free jazz at times in order to play gospel music - something he felt was more appropriate in order to revere God. Thankfully for us he seems to have decided that free jazz is worthy of God. There's much reading to do about Charles Gayle if you Google his name. You can also check him out in a great free jazz documentary called Rising Tones Cross. It was somewhat dissapointing that he said nothing at the show and the group was a little tentative at times. However, when they got going they made quite a beautiful ruckus. And they have a great name.