Dave Douglas: Convergence
AAJ: if (and I heavily stress "if") the string quintet is your "serious, tight, and virtuosic" band, and if Tiny Bell Trio is your "fun, witty, fast and loose (but also virtuosic)" band, then how best to characterize Charms of the Night Sky? Perhaps the "late night romantic (but virtuosic) band?" (Sorry for the levity, this question is not meant disrespectfully.)
DD: Charms... is the band that I have the hardest time describing. Again, if you can do that for me it would be much appreciated.
AAJ: Certainly the music released on cd is not meant to be reproducible, nor is physically realizable of being so. What can someone who's familiar with the cd release expect from a current live performance?
DD: I'm not sure what you mean here. The music on the CDs was played live in real time. The performances are usually one hour of Sanctuary material (which is very different in each performance, but similar to the recording). Recently we've been adding a second set of new music that I've been writing for the group.
AAJ: As a composer/arranger, what have you learned from working with the improvisers that have participated in Sanctuary?
DD: Sanctuary was a way for me to get away from writing such difficult and virtuosic music. I wanted to have a piece that didn't involve so much learning, but more shaping of group improvisations. What I've learned from the many great players who have played Sanctuary is how delicate and hard that balance is to achieve, and to be prepared for anything.
On Future Projects
DD: That is a project I haven't had time to fully develop. I am continuing to work with electronic music , and the music for this project is still there; it may take a different form when I do it again.
DD: Yes, the band is called Satya, and we played at the Jazz Yatra Festival in Bombay last November. I will be scheduling more concerts in the coming year: Myra Melford, Samir Chatterjee and Sanghamitra Chatterjee (tamboura and voice).
AAJ: Your bio on the Soul Note website (somewhat dated) indicates that you've been working on a concerto for trumpet, cello, drums, and orchestra. What is the status of this project?
DD: "In Twilight Found," concerto for improvising trio and orchestra, was completed in August 1996. As yet, no premiere has been scheduled.
AAJ: You have the reputation of being a voracious reader. Would you care to make any recommendations for books you've read recently?
DD: "Declarations of Independence" by Howard Zinn. The author of "A People's History of the United States" is a brilliant and very readable examiner of American culture. "Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s" by Ann Douglas. A great look at the shaping of art and culture in NYC as well as the social climate of those times. "The Moor's Last Sigh" by Salman Rushdie. Hilarious! "Woman at Point Zero" by Nawaal el Saadawi, the great Egyptian feminist, doctor, essayist and novelist. "Confronting Silence" by Toru Takemitsu. The late Japanese composer's views on music and life. "Thinking in Jazz" by Paul Berliner. and of course: "The Cairo Trilogy" by Naguib Mahfouz
AAJ: Thanks, Dave Douglas, for sharing your time with AAJ!