Critics have called Charles Gayle "a master of musical improvisation" (Portland Tribune), and the purveyor of "a visionary music forged by spiritual exploration and sonic discovery" (Philadelphia City Paper). Declares Dennis Hollingsworth, "Charles Gayle is without question one of the most intriguing figures in modern jazz today" (All About Jazz).
The New York Times on Gayle’s music: "The challenge of free jazz is to create coherent, compelling music without such obvious devices as melody, recurring chord sequences or a steady beat. It’s a challenge that has defeated many a virtuoso since the free-jazz heyday of the 1960’s. But Charles Gayle is carving out a free jazz that is muscular, impassioned, clearly structured and wonderfully volatile. Mr. Gayle plays contours and textures rather than melodies, using a different range and technique for each composition. He gets a huge saxophone tone, whether he’s playing wide-open low notes or shrieking overtones – a different quality, steadier and steelier, than the overblown notes of Albert Ayler or Pharoah Sanders – and he holds the stage with calm dignity while generating a fusillade of music… Mr. Gayle’s trio made music to move mountains by."
Mr Gayle’s work has been championed by New York City’s WKCR radio station, Michael Dorf and the Knitting Factory, John Zorn, Sonic Youth, and Henry Rollins. Mr. Gayle has taught music at SUNY Buffalo as well as Bennington College.