Dennis Gonzlez: NY Midnight Suite & Nile River Suite & Old Time Revival

Jeff Stockton By

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Dennis González NY Quartet
NY Midnight Suite
Clean Feed

After teaching for thirty years in the Dallas public school system, underground trumpeter Dennis González was asked in 2003 to participate in the FONT trumpet festival at Tonic. The back half of NY Midnight Suite is thirty minutes recorded live by the band González brought together for that event. Tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin plays with dynamism, ranging from low, whispery notes to full-on nearly electrified feedback, and on "Hymn for the Elders Eskelin's soulfulness is beautifully complemented by the leader. The three-part title suite is tense and discursive at the start, then relaxes a bit with González's calypso-inflected soloing and resolves in a burst of light.

Dennis Gonzalez's Inspiration Band
Nile River Suite

González is even more generous toward his Inspiration Band on the Nile River Suite. He seemingly has an endless number of impressive friends, and those assembled in this configuration all have their moments, but bassist Henry Grimes and reedman Sabir Mateen have a few more than others. Grimes is slick as a mink on "Lyons in Lyon and Mateen's hoarse alto contrasts with the warm bass clarinet he plays on "Sand Baptist. Grimes and drummer Michael Thompson supply the complex counter-rhythms that allow the horns to play as long or as short as they wish. González's playing looks inward, while trumpeter Roy Campbell is as bright and sharp as a new set of cutlery.

Dennis González/New Southern Quintet
Old Time Revival
Entropy Stereo

The musicians in the New Southern Quintet all have ties to the American South, and nothing epitomizes the band's ability to link hard bop with church spirituals than "Hymn for Albert Ayler, where Andrew Lamb blows tenor with ecstatic desperation. Ayler's spirit infuses "Four Moods for Carol, with more vivid Lamb soloing, impressionistic percussion from the song's composer Alvin Fielder and distinctive plucks from the late Malachi Favors. Lamb knows that Ayler cried joy as well as havoc and his efforts are consistently bolstered by Tim Green's strenuous bass saxophone. Featuring flurries of notes from Lamb and González, the title track, like the rest of this CD, is wired with sanctified energy.

Tracks and Personnel

NY Midnight Suite

Tracks: III - Sketch the Wings of Midnight; II - Angels of the Dark Streets; I - Runaway Taxi Uptown; Hymn for the Elders; Dominant Fang; New Short Song.

Personnel: Dennis González: trumpet; Ellerry Eskelin: tenor saxophone; Mark Helias: bass; Mike Thompson: drums.

Nile River Suite

Tracks: Lyons in Lyon (For Jimmy Lyons); Sand Baptist; Nile River Suite: The Nile Runs Through New York (Part IA); The Nile Runs Through New York (Part IB); The Nile Runs Through My Heart (Part II); The Nile Runs Through Us All (Part III); Hymn for the Ashes of Saturday. Recorded in New York, NY, November 23, 2003.

Personnel: Dennis González: trumpet; Henry Grimes: bass; Roy Campbell, Jr.: trumpet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet, flute; Sabir Mateen: tenor and alto saxophones, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute; Michael "T.A." Thompson: drums, percussion.

Old Time Revival

Tracks: The Matter at Hand; Free Jazz is Thrash, Asshole (YAE); Document for Charles Brackeen; Hordes of the Morning Star; Hymn for Albert Ayler; Rhapsody and Blood Lust (Aaron Gonzalez); Four Moods for Carol (Alvin Fielder); Old Time Revival.

Personnel: Dennis González: trumpet; Malachi Favors: bass; Alvin Fielder: drums; Andrew Lamb: tenor saxophone; Tim Green: tenor and bass saxophones, saxello.


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