Thursday, August 08, 2013

Dennis Gonzalez/Yells At Eels' "Colorado at Clinton"

Colorado at Clinton reunites Dennis Gonzalez and Yells At Eels with drummer Stefan Gonzalez's childhood friend, saxophonist Aakash Mittal. The altoist relocated to Colorado with his family in the early '90s, subsequently studying jazz with Rudresh Mahanthappa and East Indian music with Ravish Momin, and playing his own music which reflects both elements of his musical heritage. On a 2011 visit to Dallas, he was reunited with the Gonzalez family for two recording dates which produced the six tracks included here.

Dennis' "Devil's Slide" establishes a ruminative mood with a harmonized theme from the horns. It's a four-way improvisational dialogue in which no one voice predominates. The presence of a second horn means that Dennis can eschew the electronic effects he sometimes uses to provide timbral variation in a live setting. As ever, he's an agile explorer whose spiritual warmth and puckish humor set the tone for the proceedings. "Wind Streaks in Syrtis Major," which is becoming a highlight of YAE sets, doesn't have the density the second bass added to the version they recorded in Poland and released on vinyl last year, but Mittal applies his own voice and approach to the tune and finds new things to say about its themes.

On his "Shades of India," the altoist and Stefan seem to be of one mind, completing each other's thoughts even though they'd been apart for 20 years. Here and elsewhere, bassist Aaron Gonzalez's deep pulse anchors the improvisation, while the others flow around him like a raging river. Dennis' "Constellations on the Ground" is a lyrical lament that features a beautifully elegiac Charlie Haden-esque solo from Aaron, while the trumpeter's "Dokonori Shiito" takes things out with a freneticism reminiscent of Ornette Coleman's groups with Dewey Redman. An impressive outing from an outfit whose stature grows with each release. Cop from the artist via Paypal by emailing (You don't need a Paypal account.)


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