326

Dave Douglas: A Thousand Evenings

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Last night I had the strangest dream. I dreamed Dave Douglas’ Charms Of The Night Sky band took the place of the original band The Monkees on their TV comedy show (stay with me and we might make some sense of this). Remember The Monkees were actors chosen to play musicians (not unlike today’s Backstreet Bunch), but later rebelled against their producers and created their own records. Their coup against network expectations (all unknown until I stumbled upon the VH-1 Behind The Music show) was a surreal kind of post-modern reality. Trumpeter Dave Douglas plays the part of Davy Jones, bassist Greg Cohen is Mike Nesmith, violinist Mark Feldman (of course) plays Mickey Dolenz, and accordionist Guy Klucevsek is Peter Tork.

Confused! Me too.

Douglas, who has recently won just about every jazz award given out, releases just his second disc for a major label. His first for RCA was the septet Soul On Soul post-bop dedication to Mary Lou Williams. There was no mistaking its jazz was jazz. With the Charms quartet, sometimes its jazz is more tango, Balkan, folk, classical than jazz. But that, just like The Monkees thin façade of wackiness, is just on the surface.

Diggng deeper you find Douglas’ charm to be cleverly-disguised jazz. Easy. Take their cover of Nat Adderley’s “The Little Boy With The Sad Eyes,” As Greg Cohen walks his bass bop style the players take swinging call-and-response solos, maybe included to make believers out of the conservative jazz fan. Then there is the only other cover, which is the James Bond classic “Goldfinger.” Douglas plays the tune soulfully straight, paired with Mark Feldman’s melodic support

The meat of this release is two commissioned pieces. “In So Many Words,” dedicated to Jaki Byard, was commissioned by Chamber Music America and “The Branches” by Ashkenaz Festival. The Byard piece feels like a movie soundtrack composition echoing the stated emotional titles by way of classical-jazz-popular inventions. Feldman takes an emotional solo on “Mournful” and the melody of “In Praise” stays with you long after its 5 minutes. “The Branches” returns Douglas to his of love for European folk and classical music.

Klucevsek takes a turn at a whirled solo piece Douglas wrote for him called “Variety.” It is almost the accordion equivalent to a Naked City cut-and-paste thrasher song and my personal favorite is the rapid “On Our Way Home” where Klucevsek takes a solo, quotes The Beatles, and suddenly it hits you. This Eastern European romp could easily have been an adaptation of a Fab four pop tune.

But then again, weren’t the Monkees also an adaptation of The Beatles for American consumption?


Track Listing: A Thousand Evenings; The Branches: Part One; Part Two; Words For A Loss; Variety; The Little Boy With The Sad Eyes; In So Many Words: Ecstatic; Mournful; In Praise; Goldfinger; On Our Way Home; Memories Of Pure Spring.

Personnel: Dave Douglas

Title: A Thousand Evenings | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: RCA Victor


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Provenance CD/LP/Track Review Provenance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 17, 2017
Read No Matter Where Noir CD/LP/Track Review No Matter Where Noir
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Out Of Silence CD/LP/Track Review Out Of Silence
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Plodi CD/LP/Track Review Plodi
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Secret Language CD/LP/Track Review Secret Language
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Shamat CD/LP/Track Review Shamat
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 16, 2017
Read "Testimony" CD/LP/Track Review Testimony
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 13, 2017
Read "Submerged" CD/LP/Track Review Submerged
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 9, 2017
Read "Drama" CD/LP/Track Review Drama
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: September 9, 2017
Read "A Secret Sigh" CD/LP/Track Review A Secret Sigh
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "3rio" CD/LP/Track Review 3rio
by Pascal-Denis Lussier
Published: May 1, 2017
Read "Rags And Roots" CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.

Please support out sponsor