Dance of the Soothsayer’s Tongue (Live at Tonic)
Aside from this new release, the Dennis González NY Quartet is also featured on an earlier Clean Feed release, “NY Midnight Suite,” which was recorded shortly after a 2003 concert at the now defunct club Tonic. The live Tonic concert was recorded as well, but only partially. Because of technical problems, only 34 minutes of that fantastic performance survived. This new release includes those 34 precious minutes plus new pieces played in he studio with the same spirit. Here it is, finally, revealed to González fans who weren’t present at the gig in question as well as to those who were there and want to relive the experience. Working closely with the regular members of the quartet — Ellery Eskelin on tenor sax, Mark Helias on contrabass, and the “soundrhythium percussionist” Michael T.A. Thompson — the Dallas trumpeter is in full possession of his skills. At times González is astonishing, demonstrating that being economical in the use of sounds, rather than falling back on show-off techniques, and using the mind in spontaneous music situations can result in a bang. Whoever said that improvisation is necessarily intuitive will change that opinion after hearing his deductive reasoning! Somehow González can be as loud as Don Ayler’s solos in his brother Albert’s band, but with a quarter of its volume.