by Satin City Serenade. CD. 2001.
Book Review by Michael Basinski
Well, I ain’t no music critic but I know Latin music when I hear it and here it is and each cut on this CD is strikingly different, strikingly unique. This reveals the innovative breath of form that this group of urban musicians brings to the studio from the street. The musical elements are folk, Afro-Latin, urban jazz, blues and classical, all of which David Hernandez and his group use to weave a form of city of sound. I know something about poems; I know something about cities and something about Chicago. What I know is city and city poets, which is David Hernandez throughout, throughout his blood and veins and fingers writing poetry and his voice reading poetry are streets and the street’s endless sound collage, populated with old and young, the wild neighbor beings and lovers and the sublime and general pumping pace throb beating heart that is a neighborhood that is a city - that - that all David Hernandez has captured with his net imagination of a Chicago, a city, a city of words. In one of the cuts on this CD he calls himself a word dealer and this phrase more than any I’ve heard defines the urban of city poets. Hernandez’s Chicago is Latin and each cut on this CD is a serving of rice and beans Latin Chicago style. It’s beauty and it’s sadness. And I like the frankness of David Hernandez’s candid love song to his wonderful Batya, which is titled Batya’s Dance. More than any other poet Hernandez seems to allow the city, in this instance the City of Chicago, to permeate all of his art. He is a chronicler of brick and paved streets, and hotdogs and spices, music that is voice and voice that is music, a poet of the people, who has not left the people but becomes by the act of poetry totally immersed and meshed with the people of Chicago.