As with his previous efforts, notably 2004's quartet NY Midnight Suite, Texas-born trumpeter Dennis González creates jazz steeped in life's various joys, anxieties, truths and wonders. González's works require time and patience for full appreciation as they unfold through various rhythms, melodies, and harmonies. This is a thinking person's jazz. Catchy riffs and clever hooks won't do here. Tolerance and serenity are in abundance instead on Idle Wild, with saxophonist Oliver Lake, bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Michael T. A. Thompson expanding and enriching the album's wisdom.
The recording begins with the sophisticated "Elechi," an elegy for Malachi Flavors that is as playful as it is cerebral. González and crew especially excel in the rhythmic and melodic shifts as the piece moves from one plane of music to the next. These transitions give the music a dimension of movement that is human in nature, somehow flawed, thoughtful and purposeful. Though nearly 22 minutes in length, the tune comes through smooth and fully realized.
"Bush Medicine," yet another gem of subtlety and motion, swirls and twirls in various directions, though its core is more lighthearted than the opening number. Of the song, González has said, "If you are sick with a cold, you take cold medicine. If your country is sick with Bush, you give it Bush Medicine." "Dust" and "Song" are faster tunes, though just as rich in texture as anything else on the album. The title song shows a slightly more somber hue than anything else on the album, with Filiano and Thompson instigating a darker, more urgent background for the horns of González and Lake.
Elechi - Elergy For Malachi Favors; Bush Medicine; Dust; Idle Wild; Song; Document
For Toshinori Kondo.
Dennis Gonzalez: trumpet; Oliver Lake: alto saxophone; Ken Filiano: double bass;
Michael T. A. Thompson: drums.
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