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As Charles Gayle has forged himself a parallel path as a pianist, he has afforded listeners an entirely different insight into his musical thinking. This is just as it should be with any individual who specialises in instruments as different as the piano and the tenor sax.
Time Zones might just be his most successfully realised piano work on record. As a solo pianist, he has an uncanny and most welcome knack for being himself, and while Cecil Taylor references might be pertinent in places, the lyricism of "Rush To Sunrise" is nothing if not entirely personal; certainly, his lyricism is of an entirely different magnitude than Taylor's.
By direct comparison, the opening bars of "Blues In Mississippi" sound maybe unsurprisingly archaic, and Gayle's subsequent exposition on the themes of the down-home and the cerebral is as good an example as any of how the past can continue to be an element in compelling musical performance.
Such is the nature of what might be called Gayle's widescreen approach to the keyboard that "Rhythm Twins" might just be a parody of the fleet-fingered virtuosity of the likes of Oscar Peterson, until Gayle brings the whole thing to earth with some broken left-hand figures.
As it is, the overall impression from this recital is one of entirely worthwhile singularity. For whatever reason Gayle does not at any point get caught up in the sound of his own dexterity, and the deftness with which he deploys his musical ideas is such that not one of them outstays its welcome in this demanding setting. The fact that his galvanic approach to the tenor sax is hardly in evidence here lends much weight to the notion that his musical talents are nothing short of multifaceted.
Track Listing: Time Zones; Rush To Sunrise; Delight; Blues In Mississippi; Rhythm Twins;Inner Edges; That Memory.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.