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Dave Douglas Brass Ecstasy: United Front: Brass Ecstasy At Newport (2011)

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Dave Douglas Brass Ecstasy: United Front: Brass Ecstasy At Newport How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

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
Lester Bowie
Lester Bowie
1941 - 1999
trumpet
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 sizzles from the nostalgic opener, "Spirit Moves," which acts as a processional, entering quietly as if the brass band was coming from down the street. Soon it's right there at the doorstep, and everyone is running to catch up with the parade.

This unique lineup matches the marching sounds of trumpet, tuba, and trombone with of Nasheet Waits
Nasheet Waits
Nasheet Waits
b.1971
drums
' full drum kit, while Vincent Chancey's French horn balances the outside parade with the inside chamber, and does so nicely. Waits is more than a timekeeper, he's the turbo engine, with Chancey providing the polishing agent to the sound. On "Rava," a dedication to Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava
Enrico Rava
Enrico Rava
b.1943
trumpet
, Douglas unfolds the tune with a soulful introduction, before delivering some musical acrobatics over the ever churning harmonies of Chancey and tubaist Marcus Rojas. Trombonist Luis Bonilla
Luis Bonilla
Luis Bonilla

trombone
then solos over Waits' pulse, chasing some mystical demon.

The band plays all Douglas' originals, except for Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," with Douglas' muted trumpet of Douglas a bit like 1957-era Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
. When Rojas takes a solo, he blows his tuba by speaking/singing into his mouthpiece to the delight of the crowd. "United Front" crackles with energy, as does the closer, "Bowie," which mixes multiple styles into a tapestry of sound, skillfully woven into a party quilt.

Track Listing: Spirit Moves; Rava; Fats; I'm So Lonely I Could Cry; United Front; Bowie.

Personnel: Dave Douglas: trumpet; Vincent Chancey: French horn; Luis Bonilla: trombone; Marcus Rojas: tuba; Nasheet Waits: drums.

Record Label: Greenleaf Music

Style: Modern Jazz


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