Charles Gayle Celebrates 70
Charles Gayle, pioneering saxophonist and genius piano player, turns 70 this Saturday, February 28, 2009
Born in Buffalo NY, Charles played piano as his first and only instrument until the age of 19. He played saxophone with Archie Shepp and Pharoah Sanders in New York City in the early 60's, although no recordings seem to exist from the period. Charles spent nearly two decades as a homeless musician playing in the subways and streets of Manhattan before surfacing with some well-regarded performances at the Knitting Factory in the late 80's. Since then, Charles has recorded many albums, toured the world, and continues to make magic with his horn and piano.
In 2006, Tompkins Square invited Charles to record Time Zones at SONY Studios in NYC, his first and only album of all-original compositions for solo piano. The album reflects Charles' lyrical, gospel roots and his kinetic, frenzied free jazz fire. 'Time Zones' was hailed a masterpiece" by Paris Transatlantic and Jazz Review UK, and Charles supported the album with his first major market US tour in years.
Charles is our neighbor near Tompkins Square Park, our friend, and one of our greatest musical heroes.
Happy Birthday Charles Gayle.
Tompkins Square Label