Charles Gayle: Time Zones & Live at the Glenn Miller Cafe

Rex  Butters By

Sign in to view read count
Two new releases illuminate for anyone with ears the genius of Charles Gayle. Another crucial release from Ayler Records, the Charles Gayle Trio's Live at Glenn Miller Cafe, spends a vibrant evening, recorded earlier this year, with Gayle on alto re-imagining such standards as "Giant Steps, and "What's New, as well as featuring a few highly original compositions. Tompkins Square records releases Time Zones, a collection of originals played by Gayle on solo piano guaranteed to drop the jaws of fans solely familiar with the legendary reedman's stampeding improvisations. Imagine ten at once with a Tatumesque streak coloring his attack.

Charles Gayle
Time Zones
Tompkins Square

His first piano solo CD since 2001's Jazz Solo Piano, Time Zones shows the results of five years of intensive practice and polishing. His compositions expose his love of traditional jazz forms, while his improvisations delight in continually testing the elasticity of those forms. With left hand thunder announcing the title track, the theme emerges unassuming and simple, until Gayle shuffles the keys resulting in time and thematic variations. Opening with an understated theme, "Rush to Sunrise organically grows fireworks. On "Delight, he tickles volumes of music out of a Monk simple phrase.

Gayle brings the delta to him on Blues in Mississippi, equally at ease playing gritty or grand, while "Rhythm Twins pits his hands against each other competing as unison whirlwinds. The lyrical and romantic "Inner Edges creates a wistful open mood with occasional flourishes, and continues in that vein to close the set with "That Memory. Gayle fills Times Zones with a playful stylish urbanity that holds up on repeated listenings.

Charles Gayle Trio
Live At The Glen Miller Cafe
Ayler Records

On Live At the Glenn Miller Cafe, Gayle returns to alto sax for some impassioned performances, four tracks featuring the trio's takes on well worn standards, clearly referencing the panoramic scope of their vision. Gayle assails the covers, revealing facets previously undreamt with often breathtaking results. Hurtling through a wild take on Parker's show tune, "Cherokee, Professor Gayle lays out for all to see the sometimes described as hard to find link between bebop and free jazz. It's too creative, laying the track with the train bearing down, to describe it as deconstructed. The Hammerstein/ Romberg chestnut, "Softly As A Morning Sunrise, enters quietly and builds to a medium tempo wide ranging improvisation. The theme receives a scant nod eight minutes in, then back to the business at hand. The trio sneaks up on Giant Steps through a back door, starting with a crisp march and hints of the theme. Given a suitably low-key tempo, "What's New gracefully explores the margins.

Another cover, Albert Ayler's "Ghosts, piggybacks the original, "Holy Redemption. An appropriate pairing, the latter begins with swirls and swoops from Gayle, with Benson on the bow, and Wimberly busy. Their free form motion coalesces around "Ghosts, played in a surprisingly straightforward way. With the petal on the floor, "Chasing careens through its lung threatening paces, slowing for the transition to the more reverently paced "Praising the Lord, with its exalted prayer played multiphonically.

Charles Gayle's new CDs argue strongly for a wider audience and greater recognition. For virtuoso power and originality, these Gayle force performances will satisfy the most demanding jazz fan.

Time Zones

Personnel: Charles Gayle: solo piano.

Tracks: Time Zones; Rush to Sunrise; Delight; Blues In Mississippi; Rhythm Twins; Inner Edges; That Memory.

Live At The Glen Miller Cafe

Personnel: Charles Gayle: alto sax; Gerald Benson: bass; Michael Wimberly: drums.

Tracks: Introduction; Cherokee; Softly As In a Morning Sunrise; Chasing-Praising the Lord; Giant Steps; What's New; Holy Redemption-Ghosts.


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Of Stories, Songs, and Self: Fred Hersch's Good Things Happen Slowly & Open Book Multiple Reviews Of Stories, Songs, and Self: Fred Hersch's Good Things...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read The Art (de Vivre) of the Trio Multiple Reviews The Art (de Vivre) of the Trio
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 12, 2017
Read Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment Multiple Reviews Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 2, 2017
Read Roots In The Green Mountains Multiple Reviews Roots In The Green Mountains
by Doug Collette
Published: July 29, 2017
Read Green Mountain Jazz Multiple Reviews Green Mountain Jazz
by Doug Collette
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Guitars on Three Continents Multiple Reviews Guitars on Three Continents
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas" Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas
by Doug Collette
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon" Multiple Reviews 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Leonard Cohen and His Legacy" Multiple Reviews Leonard Cohen and His Legacy
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space" Multiple Reviews Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "NendoDango Records: Reinventing Tradition" Multiple Reviews NendoDango Records: Reinventing Tradition
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 6, 2016
Read "Green Mountain Jazz" Multiple Reviews Green Mountain Jazz
by Doug Collette
Published: July 24, 2017


Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.