Legendary free jazz saxophonist and pianist Charles Gayle shows no signs of lightening up during this very hot session of spontaneously improvised jazz recorded with John Edwards on bass and Roger Turner on drums. They really let rip from the start and Gayle’s piano work has truly evolved, hinting at swing and blues sometimes, but overall he's wholly unpredictable, just as likely to plumb the depths of the lower notes of the keys as he is to play with gentle grace. They epic improvisation “January” opens as you might expect, with Gayle aggressive and confrontational on tenor saxophone, playing with great fortitude and with a raw and coarse tone that recalls the great tenor saxophonists from the free jazz past. But there’s nothing nostalgic about this music however, Gayle is creating totally in the moment, and Edwards and Turner are with him each step of the way. Gayle gradually eases over to the piano where he keeps the pace fresh and the rhythm unpredictable and exciting. “February” shows Gayle staying at the piano, playing in a surprisingly swinging manner and allowing excellent solo sections for bass and drums. Gayle returns to tenor saxophone on “March” leading a hot trio improvisation by growling and wailing, which is met by thrashing drums and excellent and propulsive bass playing. Gayle is truly in his element now, playing white-hot scalding saxophone that is scouring in its overt power. Tuner takes a powerful drum solo with Gayle yodeling and screaming, feeling the spirit of the music deep down to his very core. There is a thick deft bass solo from Edwards that is used as a connection to downshift the music to a medium tempo and Gayle returning to the piano where he stays for “April” working the piano trio at a very high speed, with an impressive extended rolling piano trio excursion into low end of the piano’s notes, rumbling and quaking. Edwards takes another impressive strong and dexterous bass solo deep in space with subtle percussion alongside, then the trio picks up to manic speed. “May” has a fast paced swing piano trio to open the performance, and then builds in an exciting fashion to free rolling jazz piano trio playing with fearless improvisatory daring at high speeds. This was a very good album, and the best piano work from Gayle in some time. The trio as a unit is unflappable, their zeal and enthusiasm for the music makes it a powerful statement and a must-hear for free jazz fans. Charles Gayle 26.05.15 - OTOROKU
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