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RIP Charles Gayle (1939-2023)


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14 minutes ago, sonnymax said:

What's your source? Google search provides no results.

I was told by a close collaborator yesterday morning, but that the family wanted privacy to grieve.

Last night, Eremite, who are working on co-releasing a recording of Charles, William Parker, and Milford Graves confirmed the news on social media.

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RIP. Glad to have seen him twice in London, once at the Jazz Cafe , possibly late 90s, where he introduced himself as ‘Barry White’ after his first ferocious tenor work out. Then the Red Rose Club where he played a lot of piano and alto and less tenor.  I think this was recorded by Radio 3 for a Jez Nelson broadcast. 

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Seasons Changing might be the last Gayle album / certainly a great moment in time / for sure a major event that in different musical environment might be now be receiving plaudits. 

But as always with *this* music, it’s ignored and simply not even commented upon. It never was.

2 CD set recorded live on November 15, 2017 at Cafe Oto with the *great* John Edwards and the equally incredible Mark Sanders. Both are among the greatest ever on their respective instruments. 

disc one has Gayle starting on alto saxophone / three performances although playing as a 43 minute set. 22 minutes on alto, then a blistering 12 minute piece with Gayle playing alto with a faculty that belies his age. His playing is often coarse and even difficult.
Then Charles on piano with Edwards on the bow. Still hard to have a commentary on his piano explorations. But it sure gets gorgeous a few minutes in which is a surprise. An elegy to something.

The bass/drum tandem drives the music fiercely as this duo is wont to do in the right circumstances. Fantastic yet raw recording as well. 

comments on set two later as I’m revisiting it now.

Edited by Steve Reynolds
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Set two / has to heard to be believed. But it’s not an easy listen. Gayle isn’t easy music. 

Ending of the first long 33 minute section with Charles screaming while on piano is an all-time moment. The audience is stunned. What Edwards plays earlier in the piece is beyond impossible and stunningly brilliant. Then it almost turns boppish for a bit.
The second closing piece starts as a free ballad with Gayle’s piano growing on me. Edwards again is mesmerizing. From bow to fingers (and he’s recorded so well here). No one plays the bass like this. Peaking madly at 7-8 minutes in. Beautiful. 

Almost a waltz as they near the end. Then it’s not. 

Charles speaks. “It is YOU who makes this music” “Without YOU this couldn’t happen”

”YOU pushed me to the edge” 


RIP to a very special soul



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As far as I know that is indeed his last recording— there is one on the El Negocito label recorded a few days before in Brussels called The Alto Sessions.

I agree that the discs with Edwards and Sanders are remarkably strong and form a fitting bookend to his career. His piano playing is especially inspired. 

Here is a photo from the residency:



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