Eclectic Grooves 2nd Anniversary

Yes, it's really hard for me to believe, but today marks the second anniversary of the beginning of Eclectic Grooves. As I turn the page, I start reflecting on the past year and what it meant to me. I feel that this was a tough year in many respects, but it was also a time where I learned to grow spiritually and emotionally. While I haven't posted as often as I would have liked, I hope that some of you have heard some music on here that resonates with you. My sole purpose here is to write reviews about the music and artists that I am passionate about, and post rare music that accompanies these reviews.

At this time, I would like to thank the various folks that make this a worthwhile venture for me. First, to all of those people who have stopped by Eclectic Grooves since its inception, I sincerely thank you for your continued support. Secondly, I sincerely thank all of the bloggers who have posted a link to Eclectic Grooves on their blog. You make it easier for everyone to find my blog and hopefully discover some new music. Third, to all of the people who have subscribed to the blog's feed and podcast, I really appreciate your dedication and willingness to keep coming back despite sporadic posting. Without you guys, I would be less motivated to keep doing this. So give yourselves a hand for being a part of the Eclectic Grooves community. This is almost starting to sound like a Lifetime Achievement award speech on the Academy Awards, so I'll stop here before it gets too monotonous. Today's post goes out to all of you, so I hope you enjoy it!

Charles Gayle- Ancient of Days

After seriously scouring the net, I haven't been able to find much from Charles Gayle's discography. In fact, the majority of his releases are only available as expensive imports, or they are out of print. Gayle was known to be a homeless street busker for over 20 years, sometimes going by the persona of "Shakes the Clown". His primary instrument is tenor saxophone, but he has proven to be just as adept at playing the piano and bass clarinet. Around 1988, he recorded his first album entitled Always Born on the Swedish label, Silkheart Records. In addition to Silkheart Records, Gayle has recorded for other experimental jazz labels like Knitting Factory Records, FMP, and Clean Feed. As a leader, he has released a mind-boggling twenty-three records and he has also played and recorded with The Blue Humans, Sunny Murray Duo, Sirone Bang Ensemble and Cecil Taylor.

Ancient of Days is essentially a free jazz album with more of a calm, restrained sound. With that being said, there are definitely spots that are anything but soothing. Since the record clocks in at over 70 minutes, it is probably better suited for breaking up into multiple listening sessions. Gayle is supported on this record by a stellar band including Juini Booth on bass, Michael Wimberly on drums and Hank Johnson on Piano. I was fortunate enough to catch Gayle's last performance in Portland when he played the Disjecta, and the spiritual, transcendent vibe of that performance is encapsulated within the grooves of this record.

"Betrayal" starts the album off with a standard 12-bar blues rhythm that compliments Gayle's slightly unhinged tenor saxophone playing. After Gayle masterfully solos for close to seven minutes, Hank Johnson chimes in with a colorful piano solo that briefly alters the mood of the piece. At about the nine-minute mark, Booth's rubbery bass solo temporarily slows down the tempo until Wimberly jumpstarts it within the last minute of the song. On "Risen Eternal," the tone of Gayle's sax is more reminiscent of Albert Ayler, with sharp bursts of shrieking and skronking sax setting the tone for the rest of the track. Other highlights include Booth's dynamic bass solo in the middle of "New Earth" that leads into an explosive drum solo recalling Elvin Jones at the height of Coltrane's experimental period and Gayle's highly inventive, incendiary saxophone soloing on the closer, "Glorified Love".

I hope you guys enjoy listening to this record. Your comments are always encouraged and appreciated!


doghouse said…
Many thanks for this very hard to find album -much appreciated - and happy anniversary - fred
Kevin said…
Doghouse: Thanks for the comment. I'm glad you are digging the Charles Gayle record. Sadly, most of his stuff is out-of-print, but I think I'll post some more of his recordings here in the near future. Have you ever gotten a chance to see him perform? It is really something to behold. Hope you keep stopping by!

lessardonic said…
happy birthday, eclectic grooves!
Connor said…
Thanks for this, Kevin. I have yet to go and check out Gayle, but here is my chance. I love when people give me presents on their birthdays.
Kevin said…

I appreciate your comment. Thanks for stopping by! Like I said, I will be featuring more Charles Gayle here in the future. So keep your eyes and ears open for that. I feel like you are another person who has left several comments on here, and it is greatly appreciated. I guess the comments make me feel like what I'm doing is worth the time. Oh, and don't worry about receiving a gift on someone else's B-day. You have more than earned the right to receive something in return for your feedback.

Cheers, Kevin
Kevin said…

Thanks for wishing Eclectic Grooves a Happy B-day. It is greatly appreciated my friend.
It sounds strange to have a birthday for your blog, but I wanted to pay tribute to the visitors of my blog since it was created.

Best, Kevin
E-mile said…
hi kevin, am listening to Gayle right now, he's really blowing outta my headphone into my skull!
excellent stuff...
oh, btw, happy anniversary, time FLIES when you're having fun :-)
My first one is coming up somewhere in november I guess...
peace, E-mile
Kevin said…

I'm glad you are digging the Gayle tunes. I have lots of his stuff, so let me know if you are interested in hearing some other "further out" stuff- talk about skull shattering. Thanks for the kind words! Good looking out on your anniversary. I'll make sure to stop by for the festivities :)

Cheers, Kevin
Nathan Nothin said…
"this was a tough year in many respects, but it was also a time when I learned to grow spiritually & emotionally"

Happy 2nd, I couldn't agree with the above quote more, best in everything.

Thanks for Shakes' Ancient, great stuff. Glad there'll be more Gayle.

Anonymous said…
Charles Gayle also plays a mean set of drums - saw him in London years ago with, if my memory is correct, Peter Brotzman..or was it Rudolph Grey..or both..
Anyway, great post - I hadn't heard this CD

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