Listen Up: Wednesday, August 6, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Dennis Gonzalez New Southern Quintet

Old Time Revival (Entropy Stereo)

By Ken Shimamoto

I once listened to a tape of a Holy Roller preacher speaking in tongues, and I was surprised to discover that there were actually repeating patterns and sounds that the cat would riff on between flights of ecstatic inspiration, the same way a jazz musician returns to a tune’s head between solos. So maybe it makes sense that the inspiration for this latest set by Dallas avant-gardist Dennis Gonzalez is the sound of old time Southern tent revivals.

That doesn’t mean that this music is steeped in overt gospel influences. Rather, the sounds on this particular disc could inspire a spark of recognition from listeners familiar with the territory mapped out by Sun Ra’s Arkestra or the various groups formed under the aegis of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Music.

No surprise, considering two of the participants — drummer Alvin Fielder and majestic bassist Malachi Favors — were founding members of the AACM, while tenor saxophonist Andrew Lamb spent time on the Windy City’s avant-garde jazz scene in the ’70s. Favors, a longtime member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, especially shines; his huge sound creates a dense sonic forest for the other musicians to dance through. Completing the quintet with trumpeter Gonzalez is prolific N’awlins multi-reedman Tim Green, whose work aficionados will recall from a couple of discs Gonzalez released last year with his group Yells At Eels.

The music has a brooding, ruminative quality, at times tinged with the elegiac sadness of a Mingus tone poem. The participants are all past masters of this kind of thing, and they make the compositions — which include dedications to kindred musical spirits Charles Brackeen and Albert Ayler, and to Gonzalez’ wife Carol — unfold with subtle swing and constant invention.


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