Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Charles Gayle

It was over three weeks ago, and Radio 3 seem not to have made the recording available, but definitely worth a mention - I heard a late night radio interview with free jazz pioneer Charles Gayle, together with some excerpts from his recordings (despite being active since the 50's, he went unrecorded until 1988 - even the free jazz labels considered him "too free", and he spent quite a few years homeless). His saxophone playing (which he's best known for) was phenomenal, but his piano playing just staggering. In the Sun Ra/Thelonious Monk/Omar Sosa tradition, but even more so... In one of the most interesting moments in the interview, he suprised interviewer Kevin LeGendre by mentioning that there had been free music going on in the American black community long before Ornette Coleman emerged and the genre was identified by outside observers - it was going on largely in the churches, he said (bringing to mind African spirit-possession ceremonies) and in the bars, where you'd find "free blues players".

Charles Gayle

He spoke briefly about his homelessness, and his struggle to not only play free music, but also to "live free". All very inspiring.

Apparently Thurston Moore and Henry Rollins are fans. If you can track down any of his sounds, you'll hear why.


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