Dave Douglas Quintet with Special Guest Aoife O' Donovan: Be Still (2012)
The sensitivities surrounding the album content relate to the passing of Douglas's mother who passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer, and the hymns were performed at her memorial service. With O'Donovan's softly woven vocals, the band sometimes elicits notions of famed bluegrass artist Alison Krauss' delving into the jazz vernacular. However, Douglas's bold, lyrically charged, and melodic lines often shade, counter and support O'Donovan's harmonious choruses.
"High On A Mountain" is rooted in bluegrass, but drummer Rudy Royston imparts a hybrid shuffle groove into the mix, tinted with saxophonist Jon Irabagon's soulful lines. On "Barbara Allen," the quartet forges a translucent, hybrid Americana/jazz approach, marked by O' Donovan's deeply probing vocals, as the hornists color the primary theme via warm unison phrasings. The group kicks it up a notch on Douglas "Middle March," floating, soaring and skirting the free zone atop an asymmetrical pulse amid some expansion and contraction mechanisms.
Be Still is a significant entry into Douglas's hefty and multifarious discography. It's a beautiful production, brimming with memorable pieces that sustain recurring listens. Figuratively speaking, the program may be analogous to an elegantly wrapped gift waiting to be opened.
Track Listing: Be Still My Soul; High On A Mountain; God Be With You; Barbara Allen; This is My Father's World; Going Somewhere With You; Midle March; Livi Streams; Whither Must I Wander?.
Personnel: Dave Douglas: trumpet; Jon Irabagon: tenor saxophone; Matt Mitchell: piano; Linda Oh: bass; Rudy Royston: drums; Aoife O’Donovan: voice.
Record Label: Greenleaf Music