Dennis Gonzalez: Ts'iibil Chaaltun

Don Phipps By

Sign in to view read count
Dennis Gonzalez: Ts'iibil Chaaltun
Dennis Gonzalez's trio, Ataraxia is comprised of trumpet (Gonzalez), bass (Drew Phelps), and percussion (Jagath Lakpriya), a mix of instruments that on the surface would alone suggest interesting music. And their double album, Ts'iibil Chaaltun, does not disappoint. There's a lot of desert in this music... large rocks that jut from the sand, dunes that stretch to the sunset, and a sense of vista.

There's also the dance. Listen to "Yarn" and how it spins a web of magic over Lakpriya's steady beat. In this cut, the bass girds the music with exploratory elements and Gonzalez plays a muted solo in the background that suggests Miles Davis at his coolest.

"Namesake" begins with a strong attack on the bass string by Phelps, and he is quickly joined by Lakpriya's steady tabla backbeat. Layered on top is a train-like horn solo by Gonzalez—and this evolves into a colorful expressiveness that has no small amount of Don Cherry-esque moments interspersed within its cascade. Phelps follows with his own solo that certainly echoes elements of Charlie Haden. Suddenly Gonzalez enters with a flamboyant up and down the register solo. And then that's followed by Lakpriya's playful retort. The track winds down with the trumpet's train horn refrain trailing into the distance.

Lakpriya has a very musical approach to the tuning of his tablas. The effect is most pronounced midway through the song "Parable." Gonzalez then enters with a very dreamlike solo, and the solo is backed by creative bass improvisation and tabla rhythms.

In some respects, Ts'iibil Chaaltun sounds like an homage to Old and New Dreams and Codona —though this by no means is a criticism of the album. Both groups produced a string of excellent albums from the mid-70s into the 80s (and for those who have not explored these albums, they're highly highly recommended). Nowhere is this influence more noticeable than in the track "Thoink," with its jagged dance-like rhythms and playful idioms.

It is in the subtle interplay of the three musicians that the genius of this music is most obvious. Gonzalez and his cohorts provide an invigorating yet subtle listening experience full of mystery and awe. Highly recommended.

Track Listing

Ukusa; Tsantsa; Yarn; Poem & Issy; Namesake; Parable; Thoink; Unguent.


Dennis Gonzalez: trumpet, cornet, gongs, conch, bells, voice; Drew Phelps: bass, ride cymbal, gong, tamboura app; Jagath Lakpriya: tabla, tambourine.

Album information

Title: Ts'iibil Chaaltun | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Self Produced

Post a comment about this album


Shop Amazon


Reuter / Motzer / Grohowski
Tales From The Jacquard
Julian Siegel Jazz Orchestra
Pamai Chirdkiatisak
Music Room 1985
Wayne Krantz
Berta Moreno Afro-Jazz Soul Project
Roni Ben-Hur


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.