Search - Dennis Gonzalez :: Catechism

Dennis Gonzalez
Genre: Jazz
  •  Track Listings (7) - Disc #1


CD Details

All Artists: Dennis Gonzalez
Title: Catechism
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Music & Arts Program
Release Date: 4/23/1996
Genre: Jazz
Styles: Avant Garde & Free Jazz, Modern Postbebop, Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 017685091322

CD Reviews

Jazz of great heart and feeling
Jan P. Dennis | Monument, CO USA | 04/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Dennis Gonzalez, quirky Dallas jazz genius, has been purveying his visionary music for more than a decade.And is still largely unknown.With a handful of powerful, memorable discs under his belt as leader, Catechism being the best of the bunch, in my humble opinion, this is more than unfortunate; it is a travesty. For me, he represents one of the most underappreciated jazz giants of this century, right up there with Horace Tapscott, whom he resembles in many respects, especially in the scope and breadth of his musical vision, his involvement in a local community music scene, and in his huge generosity of spirit and astounding understanding of the entire history of jazz music.His MO is to find sympathetic bandmates among the prominent (and sometimes less prominent) avant-garde players on the scene, provide them with tunes that fit their own particular playing sensibilities, and set everybody loose in the studio for a couple of days. The results vary, depending on how well the ephemeral bands mesh with the concept. Here, they are nothing short of astounding. The band, called the Dallas-London Sextet, features some of the absolute finest players on the British free jazz scene: Keith Tippett (piano), leader of the large ensemble Centipede and the smaller group, Ark, probably best known for his playing on King Crimson, although he remains someone who's entirely too unknown this side of the Atlantic; Elton Dean (saxello, alto sax), probably more heard in North America by virtue of his association with the seventies jazz-rock fusion group, Soft Machine, and leader of his own groups Ninesense as well as The Elton Dean Quartet and Quintet; Louis Moholo, the ex-pat South African drummer, backbone of such groundbreaking groups as The Blue Notes, The Brotherhood of Breath, The Dedication Orchestra, Bush Fire, and his own mind-blowing aggregation, Viva la Black, and one of the greatest free drummers in the history of jazz; and Marcio Mattos, a Brazilian bassist with extensive free and avant-garde credentials currently residing in England. The ringer is Rob Blakeslee, a very accomplished out jazz trumpeter most known for his association with that West Coast iconoclast bandleader and wind player, Vinnie Golia (although he was a long-time Dallas associate of Gonzalez's in the nineties).The program consists of entirely Gonzalez originals (save for the intriguing number, "The Sonny Murray-Cecil Taylor Dancing Lesson," penned by another Gonzalez mid-nineties associate, drummer Gerard Bendiks, who discovered that many Murray-Taylor compositions intersected at various points), based on various musics of the African experience, be it South African ("Surely Goodness and Mercy (Kwela for Carol)"), with echoes of Johnny Dyani, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Louis Moholo; North American Black church music ("Catechism," "The Names We Are Known By," and certain aspects of "Hymn for John Carter"); or Ghanaian (other aspects of "Hymn for John Carter," the late Los Angeles-based cornetist and lover of the music of Ghana).This glorious music, steeped in the profoundly spiritual experiences of oppressed people throughout the world, resonates with a depth and clarity of spirit seldom found in musics of any type or genre, but perhaps even more rarely in jazz. This disc--and I say this after repeated listenings--represents some of the most transcendent music ever put to disc. There is an uncanny bonding of these disparate musicians, coming form remarkably dissimilar cultural backgrounds and ethnicities, that results in gloriously elegiac and profoundly moving music of the greatest gravitas and importance, edgy yet accessible, dense yet translucent, dark-hued yet blindingly light, earthy yet arcane. I don't often elect to play this disc: the emotions and feelings it engenders are too immense and precious to subject to casual listening; one must approach this music with something approximating awe and reverence, attitudes of mind and heart all to often lost or obscured in this modern, highly secularized world. But it richly repays attentive, deferential listening.Highest recommendation."