Sunday, January 26, 2014

Yells At Eels - Dallas Museum of Art 1/23/14

Yells At Eels played the Dallas Museum of Art last Thursday evening as part of the "Jazz in the Atrium" series. Yells is of course led by trumpeter Dennis Gonzalaz, and in addition to the core group of his sons Aaron on bass and Stefan on drums, they added guitarist Greg Prickett, who was part of Ronald Shannon Jackson's last Decoding Society group when they played the Kessler Theatre back in 2012.

I've heard the group a couple times around town, and while I've always enjoyed them, on this night they were on fire. Dennis used a guitar effects box at various times, and while I don't normally like electronic alteration of acoustic instruments, it really ended up working well, adding some fullness and additional harmonies to the sound. Prickett played rather sparingly but added some nice textures and helped reinforce the groove when the band was in the pocket. I'd like to hear him again if he gets the chance to gel more with the group. Aaron was a blur behind the bass, working that deep dark tone that made me think of Sirone.

Which brings me to force of nature Stefan. He kept the heat high all night with his intensity, whipping up thunderclouds and keeping everyone on their toes. It hit me as I was sitting there that here we have the successor to Ronald Shannon Jackson. Stefan brings the intensity and attack of rock drumming, and combines it with the shifting rhythms and shadings of free jazz drumming, somewhat like Jackson but with his own style. I haven't heard anyone anywhere who sounds exactly like him, and he's already getting notice through his work with Eels as well as the Humanization Quartet. It'll be interesting to see if he wants to move to a larger stage at some point.

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