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If Charles Gayle had not already made a piano recording (Jazz Solo Piano, Knitting Factory, 2000), this one would have come as a more of a surprise. To repeat what has been said often enough, Gayle is best known as a saxophonist whose horn spews molten lava. But his first love was the piano. And while the earlier effort was comprised of jazz standards, this one features all original material.
Gayle firmly stamps his credentials as a pianist on Time Zones. He has an inventive left hand that conjures complex chords and an investigative right that travels the keys to fathom the new and unusual. And he is not averse to teasing and tantalising the listener.
Time and motion are in constant flux in this music. A resounding flurry of notes, pegged down with emphatic chords, gives way to open-ended introspection as Gayle picks his notes with deliberation. And then in one easy sweep he veers into a zinging melodic run. He heeds the call of the blues on "Blues in Mississippi, shifting focus and emphasis from scampering across the keys to pegging down the harmony of the blues. His flow is easy and majestic as he continues to wrap his progression in a distinctive melody. The gentle ministrations of a ballad are within his realm as well, and though he brings in that hard left hand, he still invokes elegant images on "That Memory.
Gayle makes a welcome return to the piano on Time Zones.
Track Listing: Time Zones; Rush to Sunrise; Delight; Blues in Mississippi; Rhythm Twins; Inner Edges; That
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.