Album Remarks & Appraisals:
All About Jazz - Jerry D'Souza
The cover of Streets shows saxophonist Charles Gayle in his titular clown persona, the look on his face conveying a multitude of emotion. And that is precisely what Gayle is all about - a musician who parlays love, joy, happiness, laughter and sadness into his music.
Gayle packs a wallop in his playing. His approach drives a myriad shades, high registers dipping into soft contours, probing and dissolving into an all-out attack. The moment is defined in the instant, with surprise a constant companion.
Gayle's phrasing and tone are just the right cohorts for some stimulating playing. His tone may be trenchant as it electrifies the atmosphere, but he also adds slabs of innovation as he delves into the body on "Compassion I." His agility is clear, as he soars into the high notes and then twiddles them, swirling and looping with abandon. The approach to "Compassion II" is more studied and deliberate, as Gayle lets space find a parallel journey with is saxophone. The terrain is tightly wound and taut, a sustained tension that throbs within its muscularity. ... read more...
Personnel: Charles Gayle (tenor saxophone); Michael T.A. Thompson (drums).
Recording information: Seizures Palace Recording (05/2011).
The sad clown image of Charles Gayle that adorns the cover of his latest album is something that jazz fans in his native New York have seen for years now, as the 72-year-old musician likes to paint himself up like this for live performances. As a commentary on his life as a performer who has seen the dark side of humanity, having spent 20 years without a home, it is a brilliant piece of social commentary. And considering the wintry economic climate, it's no wonder that he's put it front and center on Streets. The music spewed out by Gayle and his rhythm section (Michael T.A. Thompson on drums, Larry Roland on bass) doesn't carry a whiff of remorse. Instead, the trio is as fiery as ever, tearing through seven tracks of unhinged jazz instrumentals. Gayle's spiritual side comes out throughout this disc, not only via song titles like "Doxology" and "Glory & Jesus," but also from his impassioned tenor sax playing. It helps too that he is urged on to even more sky-scraping heights by his sidemen. Roland especially proves himself a more than capable foil for Gayle, particularly when he breaks out the bow to bend and whine his basslines on the title track and "Doxology." ~ Robert Ham