Born and raised in Buffalo/New York, the great Charles Gayle has been playing saxophone and piano for over 40 years. After working the steel mills in Buffalo, he came to New York City in the late 60′s to work his music full-time.
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When he couldn’t find any paying gigs, Charles began playing for spare change on the streets and in the subways. For the next twenty years Charles played and lived on these same streets, playing what he wanted, when he wanted, how he wanted; the free-est of free jazz. The 1990′s finally saw him playing at the Knitting Factory and on the European stages with his outstanding, most expressive saxophone performances which soon made him famous. Though Charles told me in the lovely Thompkins Square Park in Manhattan, that the music he is playing at the piano on his new CD “Jazz Solo Piano” is the music of his youth he used to play in clubs in his native Buffalo. Charles played a November solo tour in 2002 in Prague, Austria, Germany, Slovenia and Croatia. He was invited to play some concerts in Russia in spring 2004 and performed at the renowned. Jazz festival in Clusone/Italy as well a the Cork Jazz Festival in Ireland.
In 2005 Charles toured with Reggie Workman and Andrew Cyrille and in 2006 with his own trio. From 2007 – 2009 he played once more with Rashied Ali and William Parker in the trio “By Any Means.” Shortly after Rashied Ali’s passing in august 2009 the trio performed at the Newport Jazz Festival (with Muhammad Ali on drums replacing his late brother). Charles Gayle has studied the double bass recently and switched back to tenor saxophone – also he has discovered the voice as an instrument.