Clean Feed: Idle Wild, No Photograph Available, Singing to a Bee, The Other Side of This
Dennis Gonzalez Spirit Meridian
Dennis Gonzalez Boston Project
Will Holshouser Trio
Steve Adams / Ken Filiano
For years trumpeter Dennis Gonzalez was plying his trade in Dallas, teaching school and putting out records on his own tiny label. What is clear is that he has a very impressive list of friends and while he may play with them more than once individually, he never seems to play in the same configuration twice. On Idle Wild, his bandmates are Oliver Lake (alto), Ken Filiano (bass) and Michael T.A. Thompson (drums). The music is relatively straight ahead and trumpet-centric, featuring Gonzalez' clean tone contrasted with some of Lake's most unaffected playing, Thompson and Filiano churning on this set of first-rate jazz.
No Photograph Available captures Gonzalez' Boston Project live with Charlie Kohlhase on saxophones, the twin basses of Joe Morris and Nate McBride and Morris' student Croix Galipault on drums. Gonzalez opens the set with a long crisp trumpet solo, followed by Kohlhase who holds down the low end on baritone. Morris walks his bass, allowing players to come in and out, while McBride bows. When the pair switches roles, McBride puts some fuzz in his pizzicato tone, differentiating his attack from Morris'. While these cuts meander a bit more than they otherwise might, the melodies' implicit warmth are impossible to resist.
Singing to a Bee presents Will Holshouser's utterly unconventional accordion-led chamber trio, completed by Ron Horton (trumpet) and David Phillips (bass). At first the sound comes as a mild shock, but its good taste and musicality have a positive cumulative effect as the band touches on the sounds of Vienna, the Balkans, the French Riviera, the Louisiana Bayou and Elizabethan England. The group even swings "Far Away Home on the strength of Phillips' swaggering bass line and Horton's controlled trumpet solo. Occasionally a bit too clever for its own good, on the whole Holshouser proves that an education in music is a beautiful thing.
Steve Adams puts the "A in the ROVA saxophone quartet and is cited on allmusic.com as one of bassist Ken Filiano's earliest collaborators, which explains why the pair's affinity shines through The Other Side of This. One can assume that if Coltrane had made a duet record with Jimmy Garrison, there'd be as many sax/bass outings as there are sax/drum, but Adams and Filiano get the most from this underexplored genre. Adams is captivating on tenor, alto, sopranino, flute and bass flute, while Filiano is masterly with his fingers and the bow. When the bassist employs electronic effects, the result is the sound of underwater whalesong and Adams calls out on his horn with compelling urgency.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: Elechi·Elegy for Malachi Favors; Bush Medicine; Dust; Idle Wild; Song; Document for Toshinoro Kondo
Personnel: Dennis Gonzalez: trumpet; Ken Filiano: bass; Michael T.A. Thompson: drums; Oliver Lake: alto sax
No Photograph Available
Tracks: Primate; Old Time Revival·Part I; The Matter At Hand; Hymn for Julius Hemphill; Constrictor [Old Time Revival·Part II]
Personnel: Charles Kohlhase: saxophones; Croix Galipault: drums; Dennis Gonzalez: trumpet; Joe Morris: bass; Nate McBride: bass
Singing to a Bee
Tracks: The North Star; Far Away Home; Brooklyn Research; Singing to a Bee; Fish Head Stomp; Nameless; Uma Bica; Grace in Mid-Fall; La Esperanza
Personnel: David Phillips: bass; Ron Horton: trumpet; Will Holshouser: accordion
The Other Side of This
Tracks: Exoid; Kleesh; Tinver; Rumon; Senfui; Yowns; Mauhn; Ingope; Yataph; Droove; Larmin; Ossue
Personnel: Steve Adams: reeds; Ken Filiano: bass