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Dennis González Ataraxia Trio+2 - Nights Enter

Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

For this new album, trumpet master Dennis González has organized a new quintet of what I believe are all Texas-based musicians. The only name I recognize is bassist Drew Phelps, who used to play in an Austin-based band called Noisetet, a band I once caught at CB’s Gallery during our days on the Bowery. The thing is that as long as I’ve known of Dennis González, he always picks strong collaborators from across the US and Europe. While reading the liner notes, I was almost in tears, reading about the serious health issues that Mr. González has had to deal with in recent times, so I do wish to send him some positive vibes, considering that we are old friends and longtime supporters of whatever he has done.

This first thing I noticed about this group was the odd instrumentation: processed trumpet, harp, moog synth, bass & tabla or djembe. The music is extremely well-recorded, all instruments balanced just right. Mr. González’ treated trumpet sounds quite a bit like Jon Hassell as do the other instruments like the fretless bass, tablas and synth. The music is spacious, soothing, cosmic, organic and often hypnotic. Bassist Drew Phelps stands out here, playing those sublime Jaco meets Percy Jones-like fretless lines which float through the air like slow dancing ghosts. I am not sure how much Mr. González’s health issues have affected his playing but for this disc, he has slowed down, concentrating on each note, bending them most carefully as well as adding subtle amounts of effects, giving his playing a dream-like aura. Bassist Drew Phelps, switches to acoustic bass on “Sita” and also sounds mighty fine bowing his contrabass. Acoustic harpist Jess Garland, adds some special sonic seasoning to a few tracks in the later part of this disc. Looking out my kitchen window on a sunny Spring day (4/28/21), the enchanting music here really rings true and makes me feel great to be alive, breathing slowly and smiling inside & outside both. Special thanks to the mighty Dennis González and the Ataraxia Trio+2 for helping us all feel better.