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Stories of Friendship and Family Ties: The Gonzalez Clan Rides Out

Eyal Hareuveni By

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The family unit of trumpeter Dennis Gonzalez and his sons bassist Aaron Gonzalez and drummer Stefan Gonzalez, known as Yells At Eels, has been operating since 2000. Dennis González played and recorded with countless innovative musicians from both sides of the Atlantic, and in recent years solidified his musical bonds with Polish and Portuguese musicians. His sons, who often work independently, are half of Portuguese guitarist Luis Lopes' Humanization 4tet. These two albums demonstrate how family ties and close friendships are transformed into great music.



Dennis González Yells At Eels featuring Aakash Mittal

Colorado at Clinton

Ayler Records

2013

Alto saxophonist Aakash Mittal was a childhood friend of the González brothers while his family resided in Dallas. He studied music with saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and percussionist Ravish Momin, visited the Indian subcontinent and developed his own East Indian-tinged musical language. This reunion with the González family was recorded over two days in late 2011 in Dallas.

It was a very intense and emotional meeting. Mittal's serpentine sax soars fits beautifully into the emphatic and powerful interplay of Yells At Eels on the Dennis González-penned "Devil's Slide." Dennis González's other compositions focus on the the expanded sonic palette and depth that Mittal introduces to the trio, often in an energetic mode with the exception of the fascinating sound poem "Constellations on the Ground."

Mittal proves himself as a varied improviser. His playing can be muscular and intense as on the "Wind Streaks in Syrtis Major," where he exchanges heated solos with Dennis González. But his two compositions, "Shadows" and "Shades of India," are the the most remarkable. Both stress the melodic and lyrical side of the quartet and emphasize his own Indian-informed playing, still filled with intense tension and characterized with arresting ability to sketch a story. Both compositions unfold patiently—a meditative introduction of the theme, a playful exchange of improvised solos on the theme till the inevitable cathartic climax and a simple, reprise of the theme; concise versions of the form of the traditional Indian raga.



Luís Lopes' Humanization 4tet

Live in Madison

Ayler Records

2013

This is the third release of the 4tet after the self-titled and Electricity (Clean Feed/Ayler, 2008/2010) and was recorded at the end of a ten-dates East Coast tour in Madison, Wisconsin. Though the 4tet is credited as guitarist Luis Lopes' project it operates as a band with no leader. This recording present the quartet in full gear, bursting with flowing energy and passion, presenting its own blend of fiery free jazz, muscular funk and bluesy hard bop.

Within this energetic and inspired performance there are variations. The only cover, Arthur Blythe's "Bush Baby," features the soulful post-bop roots of the quartet members. Lopes' "Jungle Gymnastics" features himself in an intense, uncompromising interplay with tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado that references the raw one of Peter Brötzmann and Sonny Sharrock in the seminal Last Exit. The tight, telepathic rhythm section of the González brothers propel Lopes' distorted guitar lines on "Long March For Frida Kahlo" and Amado's powerful hard-bop soloing on "Two Girls" , melting supple, funky pulse with the direct and rough playing of Lopes and the muscular one of Amado. The quartet closes with the volcanic and dark "Dehumanization Blues," a vehicle for explosive solos by all the quartet members.


Tracks and Personnel

Colorado at Clinton

Tracks: Devil's Slide; Shadows; Wind Streaks in Syrtis Major; Shades of India; Constellations on the Ground; Dokonori Shīīto.

Personnel; Dennis González: C trumpet, Bb cornet; Aakash Mittal: alto saxophone; Aaron González: double bass; Stefan González: drums.

Live in Madison

Tracks: Bush Baby; Jungle Gymnastics; Long March For Frida Kahlo; Big Love; Two Girls; Dehumanization Blues.

Personnel: Luís Lopes: electric guitar; Rodrigo Amado: tenor saxophone; Aaron González: bass; Stefan González: drums.

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