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Dave Douglas: A Creative Consciousness

By Published: December 5, 2011
AAJ: Rudresh Mahanthappa
Rudresh Mahanthappa
Rudresh Mahanthappa
sax, alto
was perplexed because he'd seen his music labeled as free jazz. His music is a lot of things, but it's definitely not freely improvised—in fact it's quite the opposite. It's very carefully written out. People just assume that if it's avant- garde, it must be free improv, even when that's obviously not the case.

DD: It's interesting to me, because I get to be around a lot of young musicians when I'm doing workshops and residencies at places like the University of Miami or the Banff Centre or at the Royal Academy in London, and a lot of young musicians feel like they are handed a lot of these categories as a way to understand the different movements in jazz and improvised music over the last 50 years. When we start to play, I think that young musicians tend to be so open that they recognize that these categories are disposable. It's not really so important to them what's in or out, what's free jazz or avant-garde, what's mainstream or straight-ahead or trad. There's this new consciousness taking hold that it's all music, and that it's all a vocabulary that can be used to maximize personal expression through music. It's a wonderful thing to sense this from the young generation.

AAJ: What you're talking about is, in a sense, about being typecast.

DD: Well, we have to have categories, especially when you're learning. You have to learn things in blocks. You can't just say the word "music," and it suddenly all becomes clear. You learn things bit by bit. And when it comes to playing music, when it comes to being an instrumentalist and improvising, when it comes to creating music, having a conception as a composer—the whole idea that we can work freely from all of the sounds available is becoming, more and more, the norm.

And that brings us back to where we started this conversation. You asked me about why I'm doing all of these different projects, and why have I always done it. It's just from this same instinct that I'm talking about now.

Selected Discography

Dave Douglas and So Percussion, Greenleaf Portable Series Volume 3: Bad Mango (Greenleaf, 2011)

Dave Douglas Quintet, Greenleaf Portable Series Volume 2: Orange Afternoons (Greenleaf, 2011)

Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy, Greenleaf Portable Series Volume 1: Rare Metals (Greenleaf, 2011)

Richard Galliano, Richard Galliano Plays Nino Rota (Deutsche Grammophon, 2011)

Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy, United Front: Brass Ecstasy at Newport (Greenleaf , 2011)

Dave Douglas and Keystone, Spark Of Being (Greenleaf, 2010)

Masada Quintet/Joe Lovano, Stolas: Book of Angels Volume 12 (Tzadik, 2009)

Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy, Spirit Moves (Greenleaf, 2009)

Dave Douglas & the Radio Frankfurt Big Band, A Single Sky (Greenleaf, 2009)

Dave Douglas & Keystone, Live at Jazz Standard (Greenleaf, 2008)
Kenny Werner, Lawn Chair Society (Blue Note, 2007)

Dave Douglas & Keystone, Moonshine (Greenleaf, 2007)

Dave Douglas Quintet, Live at the Jazz Standard (Greenleaf, 2007)

Dave Douglas Quintet, Meaning and Mystery (Greenleaf Music, 2006)
Dave Douglas & Keystone,
Live in Sweden (Greenleaf Music, 2006)
Dave Douglas, Keystone (Greenleaf, 2005)

Dave Douglas/Nomad, Mountain Passages (Greenleaf, 2005)

Dave Douglas Quintet, Strange Liberation (RCA, 2004)

Dave Douglas, Freak In (Bluebird, 2003)

Dave Douglas Quintet, The Infinite (Bluebird, 2002)

Dave Douglas, Witness (Bluebird, 2001)

Dave Douglas, A Thousand Evenings (RCA, 2000)
Dave Douglas, Soul on Soul (RCA, 2000)

Dave Douglas, Convergence (Soul Note, 1999)
Dave Douglas, Stargazer (Arabesque, 1998)

Photo Credits

Pages 1, 4: Zoran Orlic, Courtesy of Dave Douglas
Dave Douglas
Dave Douglas

Pages 2-3: Kay-Christian Heine

Page 5: Cees van de Ven

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