Caine flexed his considerable chops on "Seven Seas," mixing up boogie woogie, stride and blues in his dancing lines. "The Old Put" pursued a more meditative course; inspired by the sound of a distant train, Caine's sparse notes and Douglas's faint whistling painted an evocative, nostalgic picture. The duo dipped into the North American folk tradition on "Present Joys," a celebratory hymn laced with the blues. "Devotion," the first of two encores, was also inspired by church music, though more by gospel than the European tradition. An absorbing set finished with Caine playing a supporting role to Douglas, who embellished striking melodic phrases with some dazzling improvisational flashes.
In the first fifteen years of the BJF Douglas is the only headliner to have been invited back a second time, seven years after his first appearance. Judging by the audience reaction to Marius Neset, This is How We Fly and Joyeeta and Debajyoti Sanyal a few more repeat performers in the years to come wouldn't go amiss.
The philosophy of the BJF, however, has always been to look ahead, to scout out what's new and happening, or to bring iconic figures to the festival for the first time. Jazz festivals, like the music, need to evolve and grow in order not stagnate. If the BJF 2015 is governed by the same spirit of adventure and ambition as BJF 2014 then the sold out signs should go up long before the first notes sound next year.