Charles Tyler / July 20, 1941 - June 27, 1992

Here's a birthday shout-out to the underrated free-jazz saxophonist Charles Tyler. Best known for his work with Albert Ayler and his own ESP-Disk albums, he also recorded several highly-regarded records for Nessa, Silkheart, Bleu Regard, Adelphi, Storyville and a few on his own Ak-Ba label. His fiery style on the baritone is quite recognizable, and he also played alto, clarinet and piano.

From Indianapolis, he worked often with Ayler's groups in both Cleveland and NYC in the early to mid '60s, and an encounter with Ornette Coleman was also a highlight for the young artist. He cut a couple of classic albums as a leader for the iconoclastic ESP, 1966's Charles Tyler Ensemble and 1967's Eastern Man Alone, a unique approach which groups Tyler's alto with three string players.

A brief stint in Los Angeles found him playing with David Murray, Arthur Blythe and others before his return to NYC in the mid-'70s. He played with Cecil Taylor, Dewey Redman and a particularly fruitful association with violinist Billy Bang in the early '80s. Tyler's 1980 LP Sixty Minute Man is a solo baritone showcase. He also can be heard with Sun Ra, Eugene Chadbourne, Steve Lacy, Hal Russell, Steve Reid, Khan Jamal, Mark Whitecage, Wilber Morris and others.

He moved to Europe for good in the '80s. He is not well-known but he worked well in various types of ensembles and his sound could go from heavy fire to romantic, with some Eastern, bop and doo-wop influences.

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