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González' primary musical instrument is the trumpet (including B♭, C, and pocket trumpets), though he has also played drums, flute, synthesizer, and baritone saxophone. Allmusic describes González as "[a] talented trumpeter who has recorded a consistently rewarding string of lesser-known dates," whose "playing falls between advanced hard bop and free jazz."

The Penguin Guide to Jazz notes that González' recordings during the 1980s for Silkheart Records represented "part of a determined effort to wrest creative initiative back from New York and the West Coast." The Penguin Guide further notes that one of González' greatest achievements is having coaxed saxophonist Charles Brackeen out of retirement during the late 1980s, and that by the early 1990s, González "more than ever before... seems the heir of Don Cherry."

 

González was also instrumental in double bassist Henry Grimes' return to performing and recording. Grimes' November 2003 appearance on González' Nile River Suite was the bassist's first official recording in more than thirty-five years.

During the late 1970s, González started the Dallas Association for Avant-Garde and Neo Impressionistic Music, or daagnim, at the suggestion of Anthony Braxton and Art Lande. The daagnim organization, which functioned both as a group of musicians and as a record label, was based on and named after the AACM.

In 1978, González began working for Dallas radio station KERA-FM, where he hosted a music program, Miles Out. He worked with KERA for 21 years, but left after the station had largely shifted from music programming to a news and talk format.

For several years during the 1990s, González retired from jazz performance and recording. In 2001, he formed a trio, Yells at Eels, with his sons Aaron (double bass) and Stefan (drums, vibraphone). In 2010, the trio recorded with Ariel Pink, appearing on the song "Hot Body Rub" on the album Before Today, and on a vinyl EP, Ariel Pink With Added Pizzazz.

Gonzalez's most recent offering with Yells At Eels is a collaboration with Fort Worth experimental drone rock outfit Pinkish Black called "Vanishing Light in the Tunnel of Dreams", released May of 2020 on Ayler Records.  His set will feature Gonzalez on treated trumpets and Derek Rogers on Moog.

DENNIS GONZÁLEZ

6 edition

SONIC

TRANSMISSIONS

This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division

of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.

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