292

Charles Gayle: Ancient of Days

Robert Spencer By

Sign in to view read count
Charles Gayle: Ancient of Days Charles Gayle is the ultimate power tenor man. Most of his recordings, notably Repent, Consecration, and More Live at the Knitting Factory are vats of molten lead, music to go through the wall headfirst. He's a master of the altissimo register of the tenor, and of the screams and cries that, he says, come straight out of the church, of the sanctified ecstasy of Pentecostalism.

Anyone who dismisses him as a mere screamer, however, dismisses the abundant evidence on his discs that, even at top speed, he is a saxophonist of the first rank. His FMP classic trio recording with William Parker and Rashied Ali, Touchin' on Trane, brings down the intensity a notch or two to reveal a tenor saxophonist with a huge tone and astonishing improvisational powers. And his 1997 album of more directly spiritual tunes, Delivered, brought a strong and grainy tone together with that improvisational ability to create a recording of astonishing and surprising beauty. And now, on Ancient of Days, he continues in the same vein.

A quartet recording with Hank Johnson (piano), the enormous Juini Booth (bass), and longtime partner Michael Wimberly (drums), Ancient of Days proves that Gayle belongs with the greatest of modern tenor saxophonists. He sticks to tenor throughout the recording (which means that for this one he left his bass clarinet, keyboard, soprano saxophone and viola at home), and his playing shows a full-bore melodic grandeur that approaches the heights of Touchin' on Trane. Anyone who wonders where that one came from, and if lightning can strike twice, shouldn't miss this one.

Gayle's tone on this recording is somewhere between Coltrane's and Ornette Coleman's on Ornette on Tenor. On "New Earth" he seems to be making use of material from the Duke Ellington piece "Take the Coltrane," which Duke brought to his 1961 meeting with Trane. On this and other pieces the gospel inflections are obvious - and profoundly moving.

Charles Gayle has never really been given his due. This recording is abundant evidence in itself that he deserves far wider recognition. Any jazz fan should not miss this one.


Track Listing: Betrayal; Risen Eternal; Holy Servant; Draw Me Nearer; New Earth; Glorified Love.

| Record Label: Knitting Factory | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Desire & Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2016
Read "Salt Task" CD/LP/Track Review Salt Task
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Rubicon" CD/LP/Track Review Rubicon
by John Kelman
Published: July 29, 2016
Read "Play All the Notes" CD/LP/Track Review Play All the Notes
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 8, 2016
Read "Tomorrow" CD/LP/Track Review Tomorrow
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 7, 2016
Read "Oakland/Lisboa" CD/LP/Track Review Oakland/Lisboa
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!