Music Program
 

Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.

Ressurection Music

Charles Gayle / Han Bennink Duo

 

Charles Gayle (alto saxophone, piano)
Han Bennink (drums)


Hallwalls and Ressurection Music are pleased to welcome the return of two living legends of music in a world-premiere duo concert performance!

Charles Gayle (born February 28, 1939 in Buffalo, New York) is primarily a saxophonist and pianist who currently lives in New York City and performs worldwide.

Some of Gayle's history is unclear. He was apparently homeless for roughly 20 years, playing saxophone on street corners and subway platforms around New York City. In 1988, he gained fame through a trio of albums recorded by a Swedish label Silkheart Records. Since then he has become a major figure in free jazz, recording for labels including Black Saint, Knitting Factory Records, and Clean Feed. He has also taught music at Bennington College.

Gayle's music is spiritual, and heavily inspired by the Old and New Testaments. He has explicitly dedicated several albums to God. His childhood was influenced by religion, and his musical roots trace to gospel, boogie-woogie and ragtime music. After his church experiences, Gayle credits among his influences Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Thelonious Monk, and Art Tatum. He has performed and recorded with Cecil Taylor, William Parker, and Rashied Ali among many others.

Gayle's most celebrated work to date remains the album Touchin' on Trane (FMP) with Parker and Ali. Though he established his reputation primarily as a tenor saxophonist, he has increasingly turned to other instruments, notably the piano (which was, in fact, his original instrument) and alto saxophone. More controversially, he has sometimes included lengthy spoken-word addresses to the audience in his concerts touching on his political and religious beliefs; for a period he was even largely performing as a mime, "Streets the Clown".

In 2001, Gayle recorded an album titled Jazz Solo Piano. This disc consists mostly of jazz standard interpretations, perhaps an answer to critics who charge that free jazz musicians cannot play bebop. In 2006, Gayle followed up with a second album of solo piano, this time featuring original material, titled Time Zones. He has also recently released several albums on Clean Feed and Ayler Records that also include traditional jazz standards.

In 2006, poet Steve Dalachinsky published a book of poems written while watching Gayle play entitled The Final Nite & Other Poems: Complete Notes from a Charles Gayle Notebook 1987-2006.

www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=22764
www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=23508
www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=21513

Drummer and multi-instrumentalist Han Bennink was born in Zaandam near Amsterdam in 1942. His first percussion instrument was a kitchen chair. Later his father, an orchestra percussionist, supplied him with a more conventional outfit, but Han never lost his taste for coaxing sounds from unlikely objects he finds backstage at concerts. He is still very fond of playing chairs.

In Holland in the 1960s, Bennink was quickly recognized as an uncommonly versatile drummer. As a hard swinger in the tradition of his hero Kenny Clarke, he accompanied touring American jazz stars, including Sonny Rollins, Ben Webster, Wes Montgomery, Johnny Griffin, Eric Dolphy and Dexter Gordon. He is heard with Gordon on the 1969 album Live at Amsterdam Paradiso (on the Affinity label) and with Dolphy on 1964's Last Date (PolyGram). At the same time, Bennink participated in the creation of a European improvised music which began to evolve a new identity, apart from its jazz roots. With fellow Dutch pioneers, pianist Misha Mengelberg and saxophonist Willem Breuker, he founded the musicians collective Instant Composers Pool in 1967. Bennink anchored various bands led by Mengelberg or Breuker, and appeared in their comic music-theater productions.

Bennink attended art school in the 1960s, and is also a successful visual artist in several media, often constructing sculpture from found objects, which may include broken drum heads and sticks. He has designed the covers for many LPs and CDs on which he appears. Bennink is represented by Amsterdam's Galerie Espace, and has been the subject of several one-man shows, including one at the Gemeente Museum in the Hague in 1995.

In 1966, Bennink played the US's Newport Jazz Festival with the Mengelberg quartet. From the late 1960s through the '70s Bennink collaborated frequently with Danish, German, English and Belgian musicians, notably saxophonists John Tchicai and Peter Brötzmann, guitarist Derek Bailey and pianist Fred van Hove. Bennink, Brötzmann and van Hove had a longstanding trio well documented on FMP Records. There Bennink also showcased his talents on clarinet, trombone, soprano saxophone and many other instruments, also featured in a series of solo albums he began in 1971.

Bennink's many recordings from the 1980s include sessions with Mengelberg's ICP Orchestra (where he remains), South African bassist Harry Miller, soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, trombonists Roswell Rudd and George Lewis, and big-bandleaders Sean Bergin and Andy Sheppard.

From 1988 to '98 Bennink's main vehicle was Clusone 3, with saxophonist and clarinetist Michael Moore and cellist Ernst Reijseger, a band noted for its free-wheeling mix of swinging jazz standards, wide-open improvising, and tender ballads. Clusone played Europe and North America, West Africa, China, Vietnam and Australia, and recorded five CDs for Gramavision, hat Art and Ramboy.

These days he is frequently heard with tenor saxophonist Tobias Delius's quartet and in a trio with pianist/keyboardist Cor Fuhler and bassist Wilbert de Joode, and he still collaborates occasionally with jazz luminaries such as Johnny Griffin, Von Freeman and Ray Anderson.

A conspicuous feature of Bennink's musical life since the 1960s is the spontaneous duo concert with musicians of many nationalities and musical inclinations; in the '90s he recorded in duo with among others pianists Mengelberg, Irene Schweizer and Myra Melford, guitarist Eugene Chadbourne, trumpeter Dave Douglas and tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin.

www.hanbennink.com


Some publications related to this event:
January, 2009 - 2009