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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dennis González & Ingebrigt Håker-Flaten - The Hymn Project (Daagnim, 2011) ****½

By Stef

Trumpeter Dennis González stole my heart many years ago, and this for several reasons : he has lots of warmth in his playing, a relative accessibility, spritualism and emotional power. He is also a great band leader, giving the other musicians lots of space, while maintaining a good focus on the overall sound.

With this band it is no different. He is joined by his sons Aaron on bass and Stefan on drums, and by Norwegian bass-player Ingebrigt Håker-Flaten, now also residing in Texas, and cellist Henna Chou, also from Austin.

This strong line-up also leads to strong music, very much in line with some of González's previous albums, with quite open and hypnotic structures, slow-flowing and reverent as the album's title might suggest. The themes repeat themselves freely over the improvisation, as on "Eg Feif I Himmerik Ei Borg", composed by Håker-Flaten, possibly the only piece with an easily discernible melody.

Even to atheists like myself, the spiritual dimension of the music will not be lost, because of its universal appeal of unity and expansiveness and transcending our day-to-day struggles and mediocrity. 

The two basses and the cello weave the solid and light foundation for the improvisations, with Dennis González' warm and soaring trumpet tones lifting you up, accentuated by Stefan González' precise punctuation and emphasis, very much in the tradition of Paul Motian. On the moments when the strings are bowed, Tomasz Stanko comes to mind.

A truly beautiful album, one that will not get you out of your comfort zone, but it is guaranteed to bring you into another dimension.

Buy from Instantjazz.

© stef


Anonymous said...

This is a masterful and truly special statement from Mr Gonzalez. Up there with those early Silkhearts and the more recent 'A matter of blood'. Certainly a musician/composer worthy of wider exposure and recognition