Charles Gayle

Ancient of Days

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Charles Gayle is not breaking any new ground with Ancient of Days, but it is the most consistent of his "restrained" albums since Touchin' on Trane. Each song on the album builds with a quiet intensity, gliding between standard jazz and late-era John Coltrane. Piano player Hank Johnson keeps things under control, while bassist Juini Booth sounds more like Jimmy Garrison than William Parker. Only on the last track, "Glorified Love," does Gayle show off the saxophone pyrotechnics displayed on such landmark releases as Repent and More Live at the Knitting Factory. Ancient of Days is an interesting listen in its demonstration of how Gayle's furious playing has evolved. Where it was once sandpaper, it's now a sanded piece of oak -- smooth, yet covered with knots.

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