Dave Douglas: Strange Liberation (2004)
Frisell’s tone is unmistakable, yet fits comfortably with the group. He offers strong solos on several tunes including the title track, a spacious, mid-tempo vamp, and “Rock of Billy,” an up-tempo burner. That tune also affords Chris Potter’s tenor saxophone room to stretch, as does the quirky, rhythmic “Seventeen,” set around several seemingly disjointed feels punctuated by the rhythm section. Potter plays over and through them without missing a step, showing why he is such an effective partner for Douglas.
The leader shines on many selections, but one standout is “Just Say This.” It is a mournful tune featuring muted trumpet, airy melodic movement, and unhurried rhythm highlighted by the shimmering cymbal work from drummer Clarence Penn. Other sparse tunes that develop slowly include “Mountains From the Train” and “Passing Through.” “The Jones” is a quicker song that features Uri Caine’s Fender Rhodes. The closer, a rollicking ensemble piece called “Catalyst,” is set up by the relentless groove of bassist James Genus and Penn and boasts outstanding solos by Frisell and Potter.
Though not as far-reaching in experimentation as previous Douglas recordings, the subtle interplay of the band and the beauty of the compositions are revealed further with each listen—pushing the boundaries less blatantly, but still pushing nonetheless.
This review originally appeared in AllAboutJazz-New York .
Track Listing: 1. A Single Sky 2:05 2. Strange Liberation 8:05 3. Skeeter-Ism 6:00 4. Just Say This 6:33 5. Seventeen 8:40 6. Mountains from the Train 5:15 7. Rock of Billy 5:57 8. The Frisell Dream 3:56 9. Passing Through 1:36 10. The Jones 4:28 11. Catalyst 5:08
Personnel: Uri Caine - Fender Rhodes; Bill Frisell - Guitar; Clarence Penn - Percussion, Drums; Chris Potter - Bass Clarinet, Tenor Sax; Dave Douglas - Trumpet.
Record Label: RCA Victor
Style: Modern Jazz