Look Up documents the period in Charles Gayle’s life when he first began to receive greater recognition. After years of living and playing on the streets of New York City, the tenor saxophonist began appearing regularly in nightclubs and in 1994 embarked on his first-ever tour of the West Coast, from which this Santa Monica performance comes. The sound is less than spectacular, favoring Michael Wimberly’s drums (and especially cymbals). Michael Bisio’s bass can be felt but not really heard, except when he plays unaccompanied-and even then, the volume needs to be cranked. Yet pieces from the ESP back catalog serve as a reminder that musical conviction trumps low fidelity any day.
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