Dave Douglas: Rue De Seine & Meaning And Mystery

Tom Greenland By

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Dave Douglas, a dynamic improviser, composer, bandleader, stylistic envelope-pusher, and neo-traditionalist without parallel, is one of the sharpest knives on the cutting edge - and he's not resting on his laurels. Two new releases show the trumpeter in top form.

Martial Solal/Dave Douglas
Rue De Seine
CAM Jazz

Rue De Seine, a duet album with European keyboard maven Martial Solal, takes on the challenge of creating cohesion in a cross-Atlantic, cross-generational cultural conflation. Both Douglas and Solal are intellectually restless and adamantly individual, and they not only manage to find common ground, a middle passage, but achieve a real triumph in the resolution of their differences.

Each artist contributes original pieces, including Douglas' "Blues To Steve Lacy, a dirgy paean, and "For Suzannah, whose side-slipping modalities are deftly harmonized by Solal's sensuous spread voicings. After stretching out on each other's tunes, the two virtuosos close the set with four deconstructed and reinterpreted standards, including a fractal version of "Have You Met Miss Jones? and a tastefully delivered "Here's That Rainy Day.

Dave Douglas
Meaning And Mystery
Greenleaf Music

Meaning And Mystery, the third release from the Dave Douglas Quintet, features Uri Caine on Rhodes electric piano, James Genus on bass, Clarence Penn on drums, and Donny McCaslin (replacing Chris Potter) on tenor saxophone. The writing, instrumentation and linear angularity are reminiscent of Miles' early electric fusion excursions and Herbie Hancock's recordings for Warner Brothers. Caine and Douglas are progressively down-home, freely constrained, with McCaslin providing a counter voice of long-lined, lyrical fluency.

Three of Douglas' tunes from Rue De Seine are given new treatments on Meaning And Mystery. "For Suzannah, a piano solo on the duo album, is a bass feature on the quintet recording; "Blues to Steve Lacy, played slowly and soulfully on open horn, now gets a loping, mid-tempo treatment, with harmonized melody and a Harmon muted trumpet solo; "Elks Club has more of a New Orleans flavor on this date, spiced up by adventurous solos from McCaslin, Douglas and Caine.

You may detect some of his influences here, but—more than anything—what you hear is a whole lot of Dave Douglas.

Tracks and Personnel

Rue De Seine

Tracks: July Shower; Blues To Steve Lacy; 34 Bar Blues; For Suzannah; Fast Ballad; Elk's Club; Have You Met Miss Jones; Body And Soul; Here's That Rainy Day; All The Things You Are.

Personnel: Martial Solal: piano; Dave Douglas: trumpet

Meaning And Mystery

Tracks: Song For Suzannah; Culture Wars; The Sheik Of Things To Come; Blues To Steve Lacy; Tim Bits; Twombly Infinites; Elk's Club; Invocation; The Team.

Personnel: Dave Douglas: trumpet; Donny McCaslin: tenor saxophone; Uri Caine: Fender Rhodes piano; James Genus: bass; Clarence Penn: drums.


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