|| Charles Gayle Quartet
Cat. No.: SHCD157
Charles Gayle tenor saxophone, viola
William Parker bass, cello, half-size violin
Vattel Cherry bass, kalimba, bells
Michael Wimberly drums
1. Inside the Sun (C. Gayle) 2:59
2. Blue Shadows (C. Gayle) 11:28
3. Eternity Promised 1 (C. Gayle) 17:12
4. Eternity Promised 2 (C. Gayle) 2:07
5. Hearts to Jesus (C. Gayle) 17:49
6. Souls Time (C. Gayle) 3:06
7. In Sorrow (C. Gayle) 13:37
8. Snap (C. Gayle) 1:51
Total time: 70:23
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When Keith Knox and I founded Silkheart Records in 1984, our main objective was
to present the new American jazz, but also to record the lesser-known,
under-recorded heroes of the seventies loft scene époque.
We got off to a brisk start with the latter category by recording Charles Brackeen,
Booker T., Ahmed Abdullah, The Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, Charles Tyler et al.
About 1985 I had heard a tenorist playing in two separate locations in Manhattan,
at the Times Square subway station and around Grand Central. His playing was challenging
to say the least, but I didnt pay too much attention at that time, unlike
bassist Hilliard Greene whose attention was grabbed immediately (see his interview
in Cadence, August 2006).
A year or so later a friend sent Keith a tape of a tenor player, which he passed
over to me. The sound quality was terrible and I didnt think much of the
music. I was told that the tenorists name was Charles Gayle and that he
was homeless. I did not immediately drop the project and for some reason I was
curious, so that when I visited NYC at some time in 1986 and learned that Charles
was to play in a small apartment in Soho, I went there to hear him and realized
it was the tenor player Id heard in the subway. The performance was quite
disappointing in my opinion, because the music never really took off. Hilliard
Greene played electric bass, Dave Pleasants was overly active and the acoustics
were terrible. I told Keith that this appeared to be a dead end.
However, a couple of months later a friend sent me another tape by the same trio
from another hole in the wall, maybe it was the Gas Station in Alphabet City.
The music was fantastic innovative, original, energetic it had everything.
So Keith and I rapidly decided to record. But how do you communicate and discuss
contracts etc from a distance with someone who is homeless? Luckily Charles had
met Irving and Stephanie Stone in Brooklyn around this time, and it meant we were
able to communicate through them.
Although I like Hill Green and since this was Charles debut recording, I
wanted to continue my long musical relationship with Sirone, who I knew could
really propel a reedman like Charles into new heights. Charles agreed to use Sirone
and we eventually decided to make three CDs in April 1988, Homeless
(SHCD 116) with Gayle, Sirone and Pleasants, Spirits Before
(SHCD 117) with the same trio and a quartet recording with Gayle on tenor, John
Tchicai on tenor and soprano, Sirone on bass and Reggie Nicholson on drums,Always
Born (SHCD 115). I think in retrospect we can conclude that overall
this had been a highly succcessful musical adventure.
I continued to stay in touch with Charles over the years, mostly by going to his
In the early nineties, Charles´ career had really taken off worldwide. I
suggested a new recording session with two basses and two drummers. After a lengthy
delay Charles came back and suggested two bass players and one drummer. He would
design the instrumentation.
In January 1993 Keith, Steve Dalachinsky, Yuko Otomo and I and sundry others,
curiously awaited the band at the House of Music recording studio in West Orange,
Charles was on tenor sax, bass clarinet and viola, William Parker on bass, cello
and half-size violin, Vattel Cherry on bass, kalimba and bells and (to us) a totally
new drummer, Michael Wimberly.
We recorded about five hours of incredible music from which Keith selected 71
minutes for Volume 1, Translations (SHCD 134) and I selected
71 minutes for Volume 2, Raining Fire (SHCD 137).
Seven or eight years later I asked Charles if he would be interested in releasing
some of the remaining material from the New Jersey sessions but he was totally
against it. He said his music had taken new turns and our old recordings were
However, I did not give up the idea and when we recorded Configuration
in 2004 (SHCD 155) with Sirone and Billy Bang with Charles on alto I brought it
up again and Charles promised to consider the idea.
When Charles was on a European tour the following year and played at Club Crescendo
in Norrköping, I went there to discuss the project again. I must say, Charles
responded in a very positive way and we signed a contract some time later. Keith
dug out the original session tapes and selected an hour as a proposal. I rearranged
some of the material from Keith´s suggestion and proposed eight songs altogether
which feature tenor sax throughout to a total time of 70 minutes.
The music is every bit as strong as I recall it 14 years ago and Im very
grateful to Charles that this music is now made available and not shelved in a
So it goes.
Stockholm April 19, 2007