Friday, January 13, 2012

Dennis Gonzalez & Ingebrigt Haker Flaten - The Hymn Project [Daagnim]

Dennis Gonzalez - c trumpet, gongs, sleigh bells, pao de chuva, kalimba, Indian cowbells, voice
Ingebrigt Haker Flaten - contrabass
Henna Chou - cello
Aaron Gonzalez - contrabass
Stefan Gonzalez - drums

Daagnim Records 2011

I hope most of you are familiar with Ingebrigt's duo cd with Hakon Kornstad  "Elise". Rooted in the tradition of religious folk music. When Ingebrigt met Dennis at Dallas the theme of church music came up and it was close to both of them, that's how "The Hymn Project" was born.

The cd presents a pair of Dennis Gonzalez's compositions, and four traditional pieces, two of which are arranged by Ingebrigt, the other two by Dennis. "Hymn of the incoherent" starts with percussive meditation, delicate, peacefull, soothing the soul. Especially once the sweet melody is stated by the bass, over the mysterious pizzicato bowed notes of the cello and the bass. And Dennis Gonzalez's trumpet joins in, his warm tone, his searching soul making instant impact on the music. And it's immediately heard that Dennis and Ingebrigt are a perfect fit, that they find a spiritual common space within those sacred songs.
The second piece is "Jeg Rade Vil Alle I Ungdommens Dager", starts with delicate, pensieve trumpet - cello duo, but jumps swiftly into a powerfull drive mode, a potent groove stated by the double double bass unit. And although it's a scandinavian song, arranged by Ingebrigt, it fits perfectly Dennis's style - music that is spiritual, adventerous, but also very direct and accessible, music that speaks straight to the heart and the body. Those may be sacred songs, spiritual hymns, God's psalms, but still,  it's deeply humane music.
Simple in many ways, with the arrangements that are delicate and subtle, melodies sweet and cerebral, the playing heartfelt and modest in the way the notes are never flashy. Stefan and Aaron Gonzalez in the rhythm section have played together a long time now, but the way Ingebrigt adds his muscular tone, and how Henna Chou colours the shades with the delicate cello is really special. The trumpet's solo line in the "Sweet Hour of Prayer" is
It's really quite a wonderfull statement : how close in spirit really is the music from far away in space and time, how ones can share their past and enrich their experiences of present, how even the sacred music is about people, how it speaks to both mind and the body. This cd won't surprise you, I mean it won't change your vision of music, it won't stretch your comfort zone. But it brings hope and peace of mind. It soothes the soul. It charms you.

* a couple of tracks from music are available in the playlist from 06.02.2012
also, two pieces from the album are featured in the special Easter playlist from 02.04.2012.

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