Charles Gayle 18+ Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Thu., July 31, 9:30 p.m. 2014

Charles Gayle does not mean to comfort you. He began his recording career 25 years ago with a series of tenor-saxophone albums whose unstinting ferocity he’d forged during decades spent playing on the streets of New York City. But as listeners came to expect him to keep flying the fire-music flag, he’s repeatedly turned the tables on them. He’s dialed back the heat and upped the abstraction (often on other horns), he’s turned jazz standards such as “Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise” into ruminative stride-piano fantasias, and he’s set aside music entirely to speak to his audiences about abortion, killing, and homelessness. He’s performed in sad-clown makeup under the name Streets, and lately his preferred instrument has been the acoustic bass. But tonight, for his first Chicago concert in many years (a February date was canceled at the last minute), he’ll be bringing a saxophone and fronting a local rhythm section of bassist Joshua Abrams and drummer Mike Reed. —Bill Meyer

Price: $15, $12 in advance

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