felser

Dennis Gonzalez

31 posts in this topic

His recordings make him seem like a major guy to me, yet I hear little about him and his music shows up on these tiny labels, and yet he has a LOT of music out there, and has some really interesting names who record with him (yet he doesn't seem to show up much as a sideman). His music also feels "out of time" to me, in the sense that it feels more like it should have been recorded in the 70's than the current day (and I mean that as a compliment actually). Does he stay in Dallas by choice or by economic necessity? Thoughts and recommendations sought.

Edited by felser

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I only have one old album with him on it called "kings in exile". I recall it being somewhat in an art ensemble vein...

Would like to explore more myself and curious to hear other responses..

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The earliest (and best?) Dennis Gonzalez recordings were made closer to the 70's than today. As many here know, he is a teacher in Texas.

For me, he has always been a major figure.

the Silkheart recordings (and a few others on other labels like Hymn for the a perfect heart of a pearl) are a great run of recordings made those many years ago.

I've heard many of the more recent recordings and like them well enough but for me, they do not have the urgency of great records like Stefan or Debenge, Debenge. The trio with his two sons (Yels at Eels) is also a fine band - most effective (IMO) with an added player(s)

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Dennis is currently hospitalized with complications from diabetes, but seems on the upswing which I'm glad to see.

In my estimation he is a brilliant player. I have never heard a note from him that I didn't like. I get why people stick with the old Silkheart recordings-- they're incredible to a one, my favorite being The Desert Wind. But any recording he makes is worth hearing. I am personally very inspired by the example he sets with his regional focus. If it weren't for Dennis, we would not have Charles Brackeen's later recordings; we would not have a lot of the recent work of Alvin Fielder documented; we would not have as many recordings with the brilliant Tim Green; ditto John Purcell, Henry Franklin, and countless other young players he invites to play (who always acquit themselves well in his presence)

Again, do not sleep on his recent work. Some personal favorites include:

Cape of Storms (Ayler)

Resurrection and Life (Ayler)

Idle Wild (Clean Feed)

Renegade Spirits (Furthermore)

I need to get the recent Shaman and In Quiet Waters from For Tune in Poland. I'm also on the lookout for the OOP Old Time Revival on Furthermore, if anyone has a lead....

Edited by colinmce

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I've posted this before, but listen to this rendition of one of his signature tunes which features jaw-dropping playing from the late Tim Green:

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I'm sorry to hear he's unwell.

He's been a major figure in my listening since my initial forays into Jazz when I hit upon the Silkheart LPs - I don't how but i'm mighty glad I did. I always enjoy his playing but also he writes such damn great tunes that can portray such emotion, often joyful, sometimes melancholy but always heartfelt.

I tend to make contact with his current catalogue every few years. I've bought a number direct from him and he's always been a delight to communicate with

So, setting the Silkhearts (inc. the Brackeens) as essential I'd add recommendations for the following

Dallas-London Sextet - Catechism [Music & Arts]. Not least because I wish I'd been there (only seen him live once, playing solo)

Spirit Meridian - Idle wild [Clean Feed]

Renegade Spirits [Furthermore]

A Matter of Blood [Furthermore] perhaps for me the single most moving album of his

The Hymn Project [Daagnim]

This thread will hopefully turn up some others I need to hear. I always mean to get the duet albums on Clean Feed and 'Hymns for Tomasz Stanko'

I'll take the second lead on Old Time Revival

edit to add: check his website for some samples

Edited by mjazzg

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I believe that Jim Sangrey recorded with him.

Several times, all on the daagnim label, and played any # of live gigs with him early on. Glad to hear that he's on the upswing with his health, No more death for a while, please.

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Dennis stayed here in Dallas -- Oak Cliff, technically... think "Oakland to Dallas' San Francisco" or "Brooklyn to Dallas' Manhattan" -- to raise his two boys. He's also a serious educator. My earliest memory of the man involves him bringing his North Dallas High School Mariachi band students to my high school for a concert. This would have been 1987, IIRC.

Both his sons are incredibly talented, big-hearted guys who are kind of everywhere with regards to the local music scene. Stefan in particular just continues to grow and grow as a musician and organizer.

All of the records mentioned thus far are worth an audition, but I rarely see this one discussed:

R-1288312-1351189976-6509.jpeg.jpg

With Tim Green, Carlos Ward, Louis Moholo, Paul Rogers and Paul Plimley. Joyous!

Edited by Joe

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Thanks to all for the input (and please keep it coming). Paints a wonderful picture of him as a man and as a musician. Jim, are any of those daagnim recordings in print?

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I honestly do not know.

Here's a full list of the catalog: http://www.discogs.com/label/110878-Daagnim-Records

Regarding Kings In Exile, that was the first group album released on daggnim. It was an afternoon's worth of free improv edited into individual tracks. Thus the compositional credits going to the group.

My personal favorite of the bunch is Anthem Suite. This one also had some edited-into-individual-cuts improvs, but also some pre-written compositions as well, including two of mine, "Deputy Of Jah" and "Fat Butt". I only point that out because unless you have the LP and look at the label, you'd not know it, and...I'd like for you to! :g

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I've checked my copy of the "Anthem Suite". It's got two inserts, one about the label (I've learned from it that daagnim stands for "Dallas Association for Avant-Garde and Neo-Impressionistic Music"... neo-impressionistic??) and one about the musicians . One Zoran Pistotnik writes: "Each of his successive records has also inevitably been at the time of release his best record, but we know that it could have been even better [...] Perhaps this lack of perfection might be tolerated with regard to the not-well-enough-known musicians from Dallas who play with Gonzalez." :g

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Dennis posted this on FB a couple hours ago:

We could use your business just about now. All of my music, including the new CD "In Quiet Waters" by Yells At Eels is always available by mail order (PayPal preferred) from http://dennisgonzalezx.blogspot.com

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Thanks to all for the input (and please keep it coming). Paints a wonderful picture of him as a man and as a musician. Jim, are any of those daagnim recordings in print?

AFAIK some of the Daagnim vinyl is still available - bought 2 LP's ("Stars/Air/Stripes" & "Witness" with Prince Lasha) from Dennis a couple of years ago

BTW as has already been mentioned, he's a lovely person to deal with

I buy the majority of his output directly from him - he also makes CDr's of his early OOP vinyl

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I've enjoyed every Dennis Gonzalez recording I've heard.

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Dennis posted this on FB a couple hours ago:

We could use your business just about now. All of my music, including the new CD "In Quiet Waters" by Yells At Eels is always available by mail order (PayPal preferred) from http://dennisgonzalezx.blogspot.com

I just put in an order on his website for CD-R's of the early stuff, much of which includes our own Mr. Sangrey.

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Yeah, well, just be ready to tolerate the lack of perfection from the not-well-enough-known musicians from Dallas who played with Gonzalez. We, uh, tried.

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Hey I just found my "kings in exile" LP; misfiled between Lee Konitz and Hans Koller.

I'll have to play it again since it's been around 20 years since I last played it :0

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Get well soon Dennis. A nice guy and incredibly good to deal with. Most of his stuff can be recommended but the Silkhearts come near tthe top for me.

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Namesake is the one that totally brings it. Ewart & Brackeen at full power. Title track was the first tune I played in my new car

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His posts were always great at Jazzcorner as one of the more open minded folk there.

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Man, I'm sorry to hear the health news too, but gratified that DG seems to be on the mend.

One of the nicest people I've ever had the pleasure to meet, and I've also been lucky enough to play with him. As both a trumpeter and composer, he deserves far, far more attention than he's gotten.

And yes, tons of great stuff recently. I, too, would single out the beautiful Hymn Project.

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I highly suggest any date he had Tim Green on, all Yells At Eels albums, and the outstanding NY Midnight Suite with Ellery Eskelin.

Dennis once sent me a live bootleg of a YAE date, and it remains one of my most cherished recordings, as he never released it publicly.

Man, I'm sorry to hear the health news too, but gratified that DG seems to be on the mend.

One of the nicest people I've ever had the pleasure to meet, and I've also been lucky enough to play with him. As both a trumpeter and composer, he deserves far, far more attention than he's gotten.

And yes, tons of great stuff recently. I, too, would single out the beautiful Hymn Project.

Hey! The Professor makes a rare appearance! How's it going, brother?

Stefan has posted on Facebook that his father is recovering and in good spirits. Whatever his health issue was, it didn't know who it was fucking with!

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I'm glad that Felser started this thread, which reminded me that I needed to check out Dennis Gonzalez's music. I also remember Gonzalez's contributions to the JC forum back when I was first getting into jazz. I've ordered his Live in Washington, DC, 1989 CD with Frank Lowe, but I also have my eye on A Matter of Blood.

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