I Won't Let Go
Ed Gonzalez started playing trumpet in grade school at the age of 10. However, his love for music and rhythmic expression was revealed about five years earlier. Constantly searching for new things to tap, rap, bang and crash his desire for making some kind of music mostly drove his siblings up the wall. So, he started playing on the walls, the halls, the floor, the table and chairs, whatever could generate some kind of tonal response. Throughout his school years he studied music and played various brass instruments and doubled as a percussionist when needed. His interest in the piano didn't come until the age of 12, and at that it was initially prompted by a personal competition within himself to out do his older brother David. David had chosen to learn the piano and in turn Ed jumped on the opportunity to try to show him up. He was given a half hour introductory lesson by a family friend and fellow church member, Mario Ballesteros. Ed's love for music had just found it's greatest source of development, fulfillment, and release in the piano. Ed continued studying music in the school band, but his passion for the piano amplified his desire to create music of his own. He practiced three hours a day on an old Chicago and Sons upright with worn out action and sticky keys. The dilapidated condition of the instrument didn't slow him down though. Inspired by such Gospel music greats as Walter Hawkins, Edwin Hawkins, Milton Brunson and Douglas Miller, Ed began learning the progressions, chord structures and rhythms that made these musical icons so innovative and spiritually impacting. For hours he would play in his hot garage mashing down and then lifting up the keys for the next note or chord played, until his fingers were literally sore and bleeding. Growing up in an Apostolic Pentecostal church Ed was exposed to music for the purpose of worshiping God. By the age of 15, only three years after he had begun playing piano he was invited to play for a district youth camp. The music was challenging but the hours of practice had paid off. The district camp music director, Sam Jimenez, then asked Ed if he would consider playing for the Interior District Choir of California and Nevada, to which he agreed. He began practicing and studying music with his former camp counselor and friend, bassist Danny Jimenez. Throughout his years with the IDCN Choir Danny introduced Ed to several different musical styles while incorporating them into their Gospel repertoire. Throughout Sam Jimenez tenure as director everything from classic Gospel styles to Jazz, Fusion, Latin, Caribbean, Funk, Blues and many others were experimented with and fused into what gave the IDCN choir it's reputation for innovation and versatility. Ed's tenacity, inspiration, flexibility and uncanny knack to here a piece then start playing it was a key element in the development of one of the hottest district choirs in California. In May of 1989 Ed joined the United States Marine Corps and left his home of 19 years in Indio, California and began serving the corps as a jet engine and aircraft mechanic. While serving he was stationed in California, Tennessee, Virginia, Iwakuni Japan, and North Carolina. He was honorably discharged from service in April 1995 and decided to stay in Newport, NC to see what else the Lord wanted him to do. Up to this point in his life Ed understood the use of music for worship. However, his call to ministry didn't come until he learned submission for worship. Under the careful guidance of his Pastor, Ted F. Erskine, Ed was able to understand the need to be a Christian before he was anything else. His love for music became overshadowed by his greater need for a change which could only come from Jesus Christ. Ed says 'Ministry is simply waiting tables: Servant hood.' His time was now occupied with working at his church, helping his Pastor and other church members build their new sanctuaries and fellowship centers for the thriving body of new converts and seasoned saints alike. Ed began emulating his pastor's passion by teaching home bible studies and coordinating outreach efforts in the local community and trying to assist in whatever capacity possible in order to help the church grow. Over the next several years the church grew at an astonishing rate and since then has become a beacon of hope and deliverance in the community, and thanks to Pastor Erskine's great love for and emphasis on missions, has become an impacting force for evangelism around the world. After about 10 years of working in the music and other ministries at the United Pentecostal Church of Newport, the time had arrived to fulfill a dream and begin the task of bringing this ministry into the Gospel music realm. Not a ministry of music, but a ministry of help, worship, teaching, and submission all for the purpose of bringing people to a more real relationship with Jesus. Ed Gonzalez is aggressively redefining the apostolic music ministry for the 21st century. His versatility as a musician is the result of many years studying music styles, rhythmic rudiments, various percussion instruments, including the congas, bongos, timbales, and other accessory instruments. On the trap set Ed applies innovative rhythm techniques, placement theory, and various tuning methods to produce optimum musical tone out of the most basic drum set. Additionally, Ed has conducted private and community drum clinics for beginning to advanced level drummers. As a clinician, Ed has inspired and influenced several aspiring drummers to master the fundamentals of drumming and most importantly to always give glory to God. As depicted in his new solo release, Ed's background also has deep roots in the bass guitar. Ed has played bass for the United Pentecostal Church International's annual East Coast Conference, as well as for local choirs and other conference events. Highly inspired by artists and musicians like Danny Jimenez, John Patitucci, Fred Hammond, and Victor Wooten, to mention a few, Ed uses creativity and versatility to minister on this stringed instrument for God. For the last twenty years, Ed has been one of Pentecost's most sought after pianist/ keyboardists. Aside from the piano, Ed also ministers from the Organ and MIDI keyboards. He has written and arranged instrumentals as well as vocal selections that span every spectrum and cross every music boundary. On his latest project 'I Won't Let Go' Ed utilizes his nearly 3 decades of music studies, rehearsals, practice, engineering, recording and mastering experience to produce a project full of innovation and anointing. With hours of hands on studio experience to his credit, Ed's influence is being felt all throughout the apostolic movement and beyond. With so much music lying on the ash-heap of complacency and repetition, 'I Won't Let Go' has taken Gospel music to an uncharted reservoir of worship and ministry. Ed challenges each listener to step out of the boundaries of tradition and business as usual, to a platform of worship that changes the heart and soul. 'When Angels Play Bass' is a sneak preview of what music will be like when we get to Heaven... flawless and majestic. 'Fire' Takes us back to our apostolic roots and lays out how it was done then, and how it's still being done today! 'Lift Up Your Voice' inspires us to worship and lift up praises to God in spite of our feelings. We don't lift him up because we have to; we lift him up because He's Holy. 'Ariene Sueña' paints the melodic portrait of an innocent child dreaming of a place she'll spend an endless and beautiful eternity with her mommy, daddy, all her family, friends and Jesus. 'I Won't Let Go' represents the vigor and determination with which we should serve the lord. And of course, 'I Still Need You' is an experience and encounter with God in itself which expresses our indisputable dependency upon our relationship with God, his blessings and his tender mercies. With every note and every expressive melody, the human heart has no other option but to declare the undeniable testimony of the Lordship of the one true God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Ministers of music and congregational psalmists will be holding on to 'I Won't Let Go' for many years to come.