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Charles Gayle Trio: Shout!

Some modernists are so intent on avoiding cliche that their very own self-consciousness in and of itself becomes a cliche. Others avoid cliche simply because it’s their nature. Saxophonist Charles Gayle is of the latter type. Gayle’s improvisations are as unique and melodically complex as anything you might hear from a first-rate contemporary classical composer, yet they are spontaneously conceived and imbued with a depth of feeling and understanding that can’t be read from a score.

On Shout! Gayle concentrates more on the invention of serpentine melodic lines than the expressionistic free blowing for which he’s best known. Gayle’s highly subjective, abstract interpretation of a standard like “I Remember You” connects him with the tradition without overwhelming him. His wide, pulsating vibrato says prebop, while his free-atonal melodic constructs place him in the here-and-now. Bassist Sirone and drummer Gerald Cleaver support Gayle well, but it’s the saxophonist’s show. At his best, Charles Gayle holds intellect and emotional expression in perfect balance. Shout! is Gayle at his best.

Originally Published