When New York's power-blowing reedman Charles Gayle came to town last year, he teamed up with the ad hoc rhythm section of bassist Harrison Bankhead and percussionist Paul Wertico, and the results were unfortunate: the former lacked Gayle's energy while the latter overplayed. Supporting Gayle this year are drummer Michael Wimberly and bassist Michael Bisio. While these two aren't necessarily capable of inspiring Gayle like the New York cohorts with whom he's been playing of late (bassist William Parker and drummers like Sunny Murray and Milford Graves), they've worked with him previously and thoroughly understand his strong-willed methodology. Possessed with astounding technique and abundant energy--he spent 20 years playing his way-outside music outside, busking for change--Gayle focuses on the expression of decidedly primal power. Blowing the tenor--his main ax, although he does flirt with bass clarinet, violin, and piano as well--he unleashes a barrage of split tones and squealed overblowing; he's not interested in tunes, but in pinning listeners to the wall with his breath. Yet Gayle's extremes can't cover up the stunning innate emotionalism of his playing, its gorgeous, subdued lyricism, and a brilliant logic that crafts intriguing sonic contours. Despite his uncompromising music Gayle continues to ride a crest of attention--and though the novelty of his transformation from homeless person to free jazz celebrity has worn off, he's got determination to burn. Friday, 9:30 PM, HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee; 235-2334.