Dennis González Yells At Eels - Resurrection and Life

Troy Dostert, Free Jazz

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Now here we have a recording where everything really does come together—and it’s no surprise, really, given how Gonzalez has devoted years to shaping and developing his Yells at Eels group, and it’s a true family affair, with his sons Stefan (on vibes and drums) and Aaron (on bass) complementing their dad on trumpet (and cornet and flugelhorn), along with trombonist Gaika James and the astonishingly resilient Alvin Fielder, still going strong at 76.  Simply put, this is a terrific recording, with loads of energy, dynamic group interaction, and a soulful spirit that Dennis Gonzalez has always brought to his music.

The eight tracks are all built around fairly simple post-bop themes, with plenty of room for collective interplay and solos as well.  Each player offers memorable moments, with Aaron Gonzalez providing some agile maneuvering on bass and Stefan offering impressive flurries of notes on the vibes.  Dennis is, as usual, first-rate in anchoring the spirit of the group, and Gaika James brings a lot of creativity as well.  Perhaps the most impressive of the five, however, is Fielder himself, who despite being the grizzled veteran of the ensemble is unceasingly propulsive and buoyant in keeping the group moving forward; with active work on the snare to spur things along, he’s much more than just a timekeeper on this record.

A very strong recording all-around, and certainly on par with Gonzalez’s most interesting and rewarding efforts.