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Dave Douglas: Music, Commerce and Culture Wars

By Published: June 26, 2006
AAJ: What is your least favorite side of what you do?

DD: Sitting in the airport, without a doubt. The travel. It's not romantic like people would like to think. It's just a drag. Another frustration for me, and I don't think I'm alone in this, everybody goes through it—is just when you're on tour, getting the sound to be right night after night. There's no finger to point, there's no one to blame; it's just that every room is different. We all show up, we get on stage and then we have to go through whatever we have to go through to figure out how to play the room and get it to sound right in the P.A.—that's a big concern for me.

Dave Douglas I know a lot of musicians don't worry that much about it, but I know that the room you're in affects how you play. So that takes a lot of work and I think it's a part of making the music that a lot of listeners don't see. They walk into the room and then you come onstage and play, and it's as if nothing else happened between the last gig and you being up there. That's a pretty meaty part of the job of being a bandleader, I think—getting the band to sound good in a room.

I think that part of what makes my life difficult is that I do a lot of different things. And I think people have different viewpoints about the value of doing all those different things. But all I can say is that for me, that's what I enjoy. I enjoy being involved in what the cover of a record is going to look like. I enjoy being involved now with the label in actually distributing the music. I enjoy composing quite a bit. I'd say that's the driving force behind everything that I do: composing as a force to create new contexts for myself as a player and as a human being.

And then the trumpet takes up a lot of time—practicing and trying to be a performer. And studying all kinds of music. So I think that's what's the hardest work: trying to keep all of that going with friends and family and keeping the band on the road. I'm not complaining. It's wonderful. I can see that a lot of musicians are going this direction nowadays of doing all kinds of things, and maybe to what we might call the old-school view of a jazz artist, that would be anathema. That would be something not seen as a positive. I can relate to that viewpoint, but I also just think that times have changed and they are changing. Some things die and some things are born and new realities are created. So I just follow through all of that.

Selected Discography

Dave Douglas, Meaning and Mystery (Greenleaf Music, 2006)
Martial Solal/Dave Douglas, Rue de Seine (CAM Jazz, 2006)
Dave Douglas Quintet, Live at the Bimhuis (Greenleaf Music, 2005)
Masada, Sanhedrin (Tzadik, 2005)
Dave Douglas, Keystone (Greenleaf Music, 2005)
Dave Douglas, Mountain Passages (Greenleaf Music, 2005)
Dave Douglas, Strange Liberation (Bluebird/RCA, 2004)
Dave Douglas/Louis Sclavis/Peggy Lee/Dylan van der Schyff, Bow River Falls (Premonition/Koch, 2004)
Dave Douglas, Freak In (Bluebird/RCA, 2003)
Dave Douglas, The Infinite (Bluebird/RCA, 2002)
Patricia Barber, Verse (Premonition/Blue Note, 2002)
Jubilant Sykes, Wait For Me (Sony Classical, 2001)
Misha Mengelberg Quartet, Four in One (Songlines, 2001)
Masada, Live at Tonic 2001 (Tzadik, 2001)
Dave Douglas, Witness (Bluebird/RCA, 2001)
Dave Douglas, El Trilogy (RCA Victor, 2001)
Dave Douglas' Charms of the Night Sky, A Thousand Evenings (RCA Victor, 2000)
Masada, Live in Sevilla 2000 (Tzadik, 2000)
Dave Douglas, Soul on Soul (RCA Victor, 2000)
Dave Douglas, Leap of Faith (Arabesque, 2000)
Mick Rossi, They Have a Word for Everything (Knitting Factory, 1999)
Cibo Matto, Stereotype A (Warner Bros., 1999)
Dave Douglas, Songs for Wandering Souls (Winter & Winter, 1999)
Dave Douglas, Convergence (Soul Note, 1999)
What We Live, Quintet For a Day (New World Records, 1999)
Patricia Barber, Modern Cool (Premonition, 1998)
Dave Douglas, Magic Triangle (Arabesque, 1998)
Masada, Yod (Tzadik, 1998)
Dave Douglas, Charms of the Night Sky (Winter & Winter, 1998)
Dave Douglas, Moving Portrait (DIW, 1998)
Sean Lennon, Into the Sun (Grand Royal, 1998)
John Lindberg Ensemble, Bounce (Black Saint, 1998)
Masada, Tet (Tzadik, 1998)
Dave Douglas, Stargazer (Arabesque, 1997)
Dave Douglas, Sanctuary (Avant, 1997)
Masada, Het (Tzadik, 1997)
Jamie Baum, Sight Unheard (GM Records, 1997)
Tiny Bell Trio, Live in Europe (Arabesque, 1997)
Uri Caine, Urlicht/Primal Light (Winter & Winter, 1997)
Greg Cohen, Way Low (DIW, 1996)
Han Bennink/Dave Douglas, Serpentine (Songlines, 1996)
Masada, Zayin (DIW, 1996)
Dave Douglas, Five (Soul Note, 1996)
New and Used, Consensus (Knitting Factory, 1996)
Cibo Matto, Viva! La Woman (Warner Bros., 1996)
Doctor Nerve, Skin (Cuneiform, 1995)
Mark Dresser, Force Green (Soul Note, 1995)
Uri Caine, Toys (JMT, 1995)
Masada, Vav (DIW, 1995)
Tiny Bell Trio, Constellations (Hat Hut, 1995)
Dave Douglas, In Our Lifetime (New World/CounterCurrents, 1995)
Masada, Dalet (DIW, 1995)
Masada, Beit (DIW, 1995)
Masada, Alef (DIW, 1994)
Mark Dresser, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Knitting Factory, 1994)
Tiny Bell Trio, Tiny Bell Trio (Songlines, 1994)
Mosaic Sextet, Today, This Moment (Konnex, 1994)
Dave Douglas, Parallel Worlds (Soul Note, 1993)
New and Used, Souvenir (Knitting Factory, 1992)
Doctor Nerve, Beta 14 OK (Cuneiform, 1991)
Mark Whitecage, Liquid Time (Acoustics, 1990)
Marc Wagnon, Shadowlines (Sunjump, 1988)
Doctor Nerve, Armed Observation (Cuneiform, 1987)
Second Sight, Flying With the Comet (Sunjump, 1986)

Related Articles:
Dave Douglas & Keystone at SFJAZZ (Concert Review, 2005
Dave Douglas at Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago (Concert Review, 2005)
Dave Douglas: No Labels, No Compromises (Interview, 2004)
Dave Douglas New Quintet (Concert Review, 2004)

Photo Credits:
Photo #1: Jimmy Katz
Photo #2: Michael Kurgansky
Photo #3: Mephisto
Photo #4: Jimmy Katz

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