Dave Douglas Septet

Celeste Sunderland By

Sign in to view read count
Dave Douglas conducts a group with his whole body. He nods to the bassist, glances toward the drums, shrugs at the DJ, and raises his brow to the saxophonist all within one swift measure of music. Then he plunges into a trumpet solo that cleanses the senses like dry white wine.
Douglas shined as a leader and showman at Tonic, on Tuesday, September 24, as he drove his septet into the unknown. A stunt familiar perhaps to the ensemble, but enchanting to an eager audience, that followed the dramatic, evocative compositions into an amorphous universe.
The set started unassumingly enough as undulating sound seeped phantom-like into the space. The horns flowered, Jamie Saft played luminous chords on the keyboard, Chris Speed stated a plain, pleasant line on saxophone, and Douglas took off on a wild ride of trills and rapid runs through the notes. Two tunes into the set I realized that this is the kind of music you never want to end. It's the kind of music the synchs with your brain waves. The human psyche achieves homeostasis.
DJ Olive on turntables, and Ikue Mori on drum machine and PowerBook set the sometimes echoing, sometimes chirping, sometimes hip-hopping beat. Combined with Saft’s highly affected keyboard they created a dreamlike, emotive, Twilight Zone atmosphere. Relinquished from their rhythmic duties, Mike Sarin on drums and Brad Jones on bass were free to go elsewhere or get on board with the trumpet or sax.

At one point toward the end of the set, the bass, drums, keys, and electronic equipment were in such perfect accord that they transcended the auditory realm and emerged in a more visual and sensual plane. It became a musical Garden of Eden. Like a lone civilian trapped in this amalgamation of surreal beauty, Douglas wandered in on trumpet. He found a companion in Speed on saxophone and the sounds became more vibrant. The drums created a dreamy vibration with sheets of reverberating metallic percussion.

The set was more than a beautiful soundscape. Throughout the course of the evening the Dave Douglas Septet transformed the aesthetics of the space by combining new technology and jazz traditions with charming, fantastic grace.


More Articles

Read Kneebody at Johnny Brenda's Live Reviews Kneebody at Johnny Brenda's
by Mike Jacobs
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Vossajazz 2017 Live Reviews Vossajazz 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Hermeto Pascoal at SFJAZZ Live Reviews Hermeto Pascoal at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: April 21, 2017
Read Lewis Nash and Steve Wilson at JazzNights Live Reviews Lewis Nash and Steve Wilson at JazzNights
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 18, 2017
Read Tallinn Music Week 2017 Live Reviews Tallinn Music Week 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: April 16, 2017
Read Bergamo Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Bergamo Jazz Festival 2017
by Francesco Martinelli
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "The Donny McCaslin Group at The Arden Gild Hall" Live Reviews The Donny McCaslin Group at The Arden Gild Hall
by Mike Jacobs
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "Internationales Jazz Festival Münster 2017" Live Reviews Internationales Jazz Festival Münster 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: January 26, 2017
Read "Cyrus Chestnut Trio at Duc des Lombards" Live Reviews Cyrus Chestnut Trio at Duc des Lombards
by Patricia Myers
Published: August 14, 2016
Read "Galway Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Galway Jazz Festival 2016
by Ian Patterson
Published: October 31, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus


Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!