Dave Douglas: Freak In (2003)
Of the twelve tunes on the record, "Black Rock Park" best illustrates the breadth of Freak In and the clever ways Douglas chooses to combine styles. It launches with a punchy blues groove led by Marc Ribot's guitar, riding over spare (acoustic) drums. The guitarist briefly heads into shredding rock territory before coming together with Douglas for his statement of a simple climaxing theme. As retro keyboards slip in, saxophonist Chris Speed lands an adventurous bop-oriented solo. Another solo from Douglas, then it's back to the theme and out. The approach lies somewhere between Miles Davis's idea of jazz/rock fusion and John Zorn's conscious stylistic eclecticism. But unlike Zorn's jumpy postmodern bent, this record seeks to blend things together into a coherent, logical flow.
Douglas recruited a surprising variety of musicians for the date, dominated by New York's avant-garde insider circle. The electronic/percussion department lends texture and groove reinforcement, while guitarist Marc Ribot exploits his ability to set the group on fire. Douglas himself travels through a remarkable range of tone on his instrumentbegone Miles Davis comparisons!
It's very important to point out that, whatever the range of material on this record, Freak In remains coherent all the way. That's a real feat given the circumstances, and a strong incentive for open-minded jazz lovers of all stripes. This is the boldest record Dave Douglas has ever made. And his best, which is saying a lot.
Track Listing: Freak In; Culver City Park; Black Rock Park; Hot Club of 13th Street; Eastern Parkway; November; Porto Alegre; The Great Schism; Wild Blue; Maya; Traveler There Is No Road; Bonus Track.
Personnel: Dave Douglas: trumpet, keyboards, voice; Jamie Saft: keyboards, loops, programming; Marc Ribot: electric guitar; Karsh Kale: tabla and additional drums; Joey Baron: drums; Romero Lubambo: acoustic guitar; Brad Jones: Ampeg baby bass, acoustic bass; Ikue Mori: electronic percussion; Seamus Blake: saxophone; Chris Speed: saxophone, clarinet; Craig Taborn: Fender Rhodes; Michael Sarin: drums.
Record Label: Bluebird
Style: Modern Jazz