City of Dreams

The Annex Theater
November 11 – November 14, 2004
Thursday – Saturday 7:30 pm
Sunday - 2:30 and 7:30 pm

DAVID GONZALEZ AND THE POETIC LICENSE BAND IN "CITY OF DREAMS" The quest for personal identity in NYC, performed with spoken word, Afro-Cuban/Jazz and multimedia.

"City of Dreams" is the world premiere of a multi-media work written and performed by David Gonzalez. The show incorporates poetry, monologues, and music, featuring five of New York's fiercest and most creative Latin jazz musicians including Bobby Sanabria and John DiMartino, with stunning live video mix by Casey Meade. The piece is a theatrical adaptation of what was originally Gonzalez's debut album with Sanabria, combining spoken word and Latin Jazz in an exploration of our City and what it really means to be a Latin man here.

David Gonzalez hosted New York Kids on WNYC, New York public radio, for eight seasons. He has performed his "poetic musical revelations" at the New Victory Theater, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Central Park Summerstage, and Aaron Davis Hall. His other stage productions include "¡Sofrito!", a blend of Latin music and legend performed in conjunction with Salsa great Larry Harlow; "Double Crossed: The Saga Of The St. Louis," a one-man show commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution's Discovery Theater, and "Mytholojazz," in which the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is set to a modern jazz score by D.D. Jackson. Gonzalez's most recent projects include a multi-media opera, "The Secret Of The Ceiba Tree" (Cleveland Playhouse Square) and "The Frog Bride," featuring the music of Prokofiev and the art of Kandinsky (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art).

Born to a Cuban father and a Puerto Rican mother, he was raised in the Bronx and attended public schools. He discovered theater in high school and went on to earn undergrad and doctorate degrees in Music Therapy at NYU. He brings to performance his extensive experience as an arts therapist. While working in this field, he became inspired by Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell and Maxine Greene, whose writings continue to influence his poetry.

Now, his poems and stories explore the quest for cultural identity and document his personal odyssey. His work is heavily informed by the rich world of story and myth. He began performing his mix of poetry, music and solo theater twenty years ago and estimates that he has given over 3,000 live performances for both children and adults in schools and theaters across the country. His poetry has been featured on Bill Moyers' PBS documentary "Fooling with Words," NPR's "All Things Considered" and PRI's "Studio 360."

Gonzalez has performed as a spoken word artist at renowned performing arts centers including Lincoln Center Out of Doors, The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Smithsonian Institution and The Royal National Theater of London. In 1998, he received the Helen Hayes Performing Artist of the Year Award. His work has been published in several literary journals and books including "Give Me a World Of Art," published by Columbia University Press. He lives with his wife, jazz vocalist Lisa Sokolov, and their two children in Chestnut Ridge, NY.

"City of Dreams" brings Gonzalez together with The Poetic License Band, led by Grammy-nominated master drummer Bobby Sanabria. Sanabria has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaría, Larry Harlow, and the godfather of Afro-Cuban jazz Mario Bauzá. Sanabria's critically acclaimed album with The Afro-Cuban Dream Big Band, "Live & In Clave!!!," was nominated for a Grammy in 2001 and won a Jazz Journalists Association Award in 2001 for the Best Afro-Cuban Jazz Album of the Year.

The Poetic License Band lays down a feast of grooves, from Afro-Cuban and sacred Yoruba chants to modern jazz and mambo-flavored house. The band also features Daniel Kelly on keyboards and electronics, Carlos Henriquez on bass, Mac Gollehon on trumpet and John DiMartino on piano. Gonzalez rounds out the sound on jazz guitar. Multimedia is by Casey Meade, film maker, video artist and founder of Projectile Arts.

Reviewing the album upon which this performance is based, Martin Wisckol wrote in The Orange County Register, "This poetry-meets-Latin-jazz outing is rich, inspired and wonderfully evocative, delivering the best of the genres it touches while avoiding potholes common to spoken-word and music efforts. Gonzalez is approximately a Nuyorican Gil Scott- Heron but with his own distinctive voice and rhythm, his own stories of the barrio, of identity, of familia y amigos, of Puerto Rico and Cuba….The band percolates easily, steadily, from swing to funk to rhumba, complementing the words while ranging from background textures to urgent, surging, frontline dramas."

Gonzalez's salute is not to the pure-blooded, but to the glorious mixture of heritages which is claimed by most people. To him, part of being human in the modern City is the discovery and celebration of one's identity and learning how to let that go in order to "be in the now." His song, "Who am I?", speaks directly to this:

Today there are men who descend from these people,
who carry the African, the Spaniard, the Indian,
under our skin, beneath bad-boy caps, leather jackets and jeans, we trek back-and-forth across the inter-netted landscapes of the modern world, asking "Who Am I?"

For a taste of the upcoming show, imagine what the CD's liner notes call "a savory baritone voice intoning the melody, mood and rhythm of the City of Dreams, accompanied by an adventurous Latin Jazz Score," proclaiming:

Welcome to New York,
City of Dreams,
the city that never sleeps won't bat an eye
lest we miss the minor miracles that guide us
through the cyber-streaming matrix,
and plain simple living
of our here and now.
Welcome to New York,
the magnificent location of our mortal unwinding.

An MP3 sample from "City of Dreams" is online at:

2004 page