Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Heavily influenced by free jazz explorers like Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, and Archie Shepp (among others), Gold Sparkle Band (GSB for short) is an acoustic avant-garde jazz quartet that has been active since 1994. In fact, GSB has often favored the same piano-less alto sax/trumpet/bass/drums format as Coleman's trailblazing quartet of the late '50s and early '60s (the group that boasted Don Cherry on trumpet, Charlie Haden on acoustic bass, and Billy Higgins or Ed Blackwell on drums). GSB was formed in Atlanta, GA, in 1994, when trumpeter Roger Ruzow joined forces with alto saxman/clarinetist Charles Waters and drummer Andrew Barker (who has been greatly influenced by Blackwell's playing). Over the years, GSB has had different people on acoustic bass; in 1997, Chris Riggenbach was on bass, and in the early 2000s, GSB's bassist was Adam Roberts.
When GSB's original lineup first got together in 1994, Waters and Ruzow were hardly strangers; they had been roommates, and in their pre-Atlanta days, they had known each other from the music department at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. In the '90s, most of GSB's albums came out on the band's own label, Nu Records, including GSB's debut albums, Downsizing and 23 (which came out in 1998). In 1997, GSB's members recorded an album titled Hallelujah! for the Third Eye label. However, that album was not credited to GSB; it was released under the name Nuzion Big Band and spotlights an expanded GSB lineup. In 1999, GSB started recording for Squealer Music, a small label based in Virginia. Squealer released GSB's 1999 session Nu*Soul Zodiac in 2000, and in 2002, Squealer put out Fugues and Flowers (a collection of live performances from GSB's 2000 tour).