When All About Jazz last spoke with trumpeter, multi-bandleader, teacher, composer, marathon runner, podcaster, and record label head honcho Dave Douglas in November, 2011, he was in the Ukraine on the last leg of a tour with the French accordionist Richard Galliano. We spoke about his newest musical project, Sound Prints, a quintet with saxophonist Joe Lovano and drummer Joey Baron playing music inspired by and dedicated to [saxophonist] Wayne Shorter.Simultaneously, Douglas was preparing for a week-long engagement at The Jazz Standard with three of his latest projects: the Dave Douglas Quintet, Brass Ecstasy, and a collaboration with ...read more
Time Travel is the follow-up to 2012's Be Still, the critically acclaimed debut of trumpeter Dave Douglas' new Quintet. Since co-founding Greenleaf Records with label manager Michael Friedman in 2005, Douglas has issued a number of eclectic projects on the imprint, but few have been as surprising as last year's release, which featured folk singer Aoife O'Donovan. Dedicated to his late mother, the elegiac album was comprised of contemplative spirituals--an acquired taste for fans of Douglas' adventurous post-bop, since O'Donovan's Americana-styled vocals dominated the session, leaving the instrumentalists to play second fiddle.With no vocalist to support, the quintet ...read more
Eminent trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas models change through innovation. Among the more important progressive jazz musicians of the past three decades, he's evolved into a motivator and guiding light for scores of seasoned jazz artisans and progressive music upstarts. This 2012 campaign bridges Americana with equal parts jazz, folk, and hymnal pieces with a translucent melding of disparate genres, often intimating a custom-built design. The music resonates across rolling hills, seamless shifts in strategy and memorably melodic storylines, graced by vocalist Aoife O' Donovan's crystalline delivery, spanning jazz and pop inflections, bluegrass, and folksiness. Besides the hymnal elements, Douglas intermittently injects ...read more
Considering trumpeter Dave Douglas' musical career, one word that comes to mind is consistency." Sure, he's led a dizzying variety of bands playing in all sorts of styles. Yet, of the 30-odd recordings he's led, not one veers from the central mission of presenting challenging, original jazz. An inveterate musical risk taker, Douglas has always led several different bands simultaneously. Back in the mid-1990s, he had Parallel Worlds, Tiny Bell Trio, and the Dave Douglas Sextet--each with different instrumentation and personnel, each playing its own book of all-original material. Not one to stay in one place too long, Douglas then ...read more
While many jazz artists have a variety of ongoing projects at any given time, few are as stylistically spread out as Dave Douglas. Since his emergence in the mid 1990s as a member of saxophonist/cottage industry proprietor John Zorn's flagship Masada quartet, the intrepid trumpeter has explored an almost unprecedented variety of detailed projects. In his early days he had his string quintet, where violin, cello and bass intersected with trumpet and drums on albums including Parallel Worlds (Soul Note, 1993); a powerhouse sextet that delivered tributes to legendary artists such as saxophonist Wayne Shorter on Stargazer (Arabesque, 1997) and ...read more
Brass bands, like wild animals are best viewed in their native habitats. Watching a lion on the savanna is a much different experience than seeing it caged in a zoo. Likewise, hearing Dave Douglas' Brass Ecstasy live is superior to any studio recording. Not that the band's Spirit Moves (Greenleaf, 2009) was a subpar Douglas recording; it's just that any band inspired by the trumpeter Lester Bowie and the New Orleans brass band tradition should be heard in public. Recorded at the 2010 Newport Jazz Festival, United Front retains the original lineup of Brass Ecstasy, and the music ...read more
Dave Douglas & KeystoneLincoln TheatreColumbus, OhioFebruary 5, 2011 It seemed somehow fitting that composer Dave Douglas' presentation of Spark Of Being (Greenleaf Music, 2010) be held in the aftermath of the blizzard of 2011. The audience for this retelling of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, which begins and ends with a sailing ship frozen in the ice of the North Pole, had traveled to the Lincoln Theatre through huge drifting snows, with trees and power lines splintered by a monstrous ice storm. The trumpeter and his electric sextet (minus one) were concluding a ...read more
Dave Douglas & KeystoneSpark of BeingGreenleaf Music2010 Trumpet player and composer Dave Douglas has risen from the ranks of tenacious Downtown improvisers to become a leading force in creative mainstream jazz in the past decade. Regularly overshadowing perennial favorite Wynton Marsalis in Best Trumpeter" polls for the past few years, his liberal aesthetic encompasses everything from chamber-like small ensembles to international big bands, with his venerable Quintet and the electric sextet Keystone serving as two of his most enduring ensembles. Initially formed to perform live soundtracks to silent films like Fatty and ...read more
Just as summer comes to a close, another great release from trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas comes along. Expand is the second part of a trilogy of music, performed by Dave Douglas & Keystone, for the Bill Morrison film Spark of Being (2010). The film and related music bring Mary Shelley's iconic novel, Frankenstein (1818), and the relationship between science and humanity in the future, into a modern light. The first part, Soundtrack (Greenleaf, 2010) , was released earlier in the summer, with the conclusion, Burst (Greenleaf, 2010), to follow in the fall. All three releases are also available together as a ...read more
This reissue harks back to a time when trumpeter Dave Douglas seemingly operated within a more extreme zone of jazz improvisation. When this 1995 set was recorded at Radio DRS in Zurich, the trio had been together for three years, Douglas having built up a tight bond with guitarist Brad Shepik and drummer Jim Black but such a lightning closeness didn't tend to occlude the threesome's unique playing characters. To compartmentalize loosely each member's area of expertise we can say that Black is a rickety rummager, Shepik a tonal painter and Douglas an ultra-kinetic hummingbird. All three, ...read more
With trumpeter Dave Douglas' 21st century star continuing to rise, the hatOLOGY reissue of his Tiny Bell Trio recording Constellations serves as a reminder of the not too distant past. Hearing Douglas, guitarist Brad Shepik, and drummer Jim Black circa 1995 provides the context in which to consider their more recent efforts.
At the time of this recording, Douglas' restless sound found avenues for expression in John Zorn's Masada, Parallel Worlds (a string group), the chamber ensemble Charms Of The Night Sky, a jazz tribute sextet, and his electric suite band Sanctuary. Tiny Bell Trio was labeled a Balkan Jazz ...read more
When hatOLOGY put it out back in summer 2009, pianist Horace Tapscott's mother lode of groove, The Dark Tree, originally released in 1991, looked like a serious contender for best reissue of the year. It's still a player--but so too is trumpeter Dave Douglas' Tiny Bell Trio's Constellations, which slips under the wire at the eleventh hour.
First released in 1995, Constellations catches Douglas on the cusp of elevation to international downtown fame, and Tiny Bell's guitarist, Brad Shepik (then still known as Brad Schoeppach), and drummer, Jim Black, were close behind on their own trajectories. Constellations was ...read more
Here is yet another facet of Dave Douglas, an artist who is constantly seeking fresh discoveries. This album benefits from the full forces of the Frankfurt Radio Big Band (FRB), brashly realizing the composer's large lyricism. Douglas now turns his auteur skills to writing inflated-scale compositions, although his own soloing role is not diminished. His features are frequently the kernel of the operation. The FRB are conducted and arranged by Jim McNeely and the most familiar player in their ranks is tenor man (and flutist) Tony Lakatos. Three of the works included here are part of 2008's ...read more
On his first big band recording, award winning trumpeter, composer, bandleader, and Greenleaf Music label founder Dave Douglas is joined by the Frankfurt Radio Bigband, conducted by composer/arranger Jim McNeely, with whom Douglas studied in the mid-1980s. Presenting a previously unheard facet of Douglas' artistry, A Single Sky features new compositions written expressly for big band, as well as McNeely's nuanced arrangements of a few of Douglas' older tunes, which sheds new light on his earlier work without obscuring the subtlety of his original vision.
Three new pieces, The Presidents," Campaign Trail," and Blockbuster" are culled from Douglas' ...read more
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