The aptly titled Devotion by trumpeter Dave Douglas, pianist Uri Caine and drummer Andrew Cyrille is both a prayer and a dedication. Like a prayer, the trio resolves to maintain a virtuous approach to their celebration of personal heroes, both musical and cultural. The disc opens with "Curly," dedicated to the iconic guileless Stooge, who along with Moe and Larry reigned as the masters of physical comedy in the early 20th century. While there were Three Stooges, Douglas' composition features only a duo between Caine and Cyrille. The piano and drums skid and dance a rollicking scamper of pratfalls and constructed foolishness.
This trio configuration is ideal. Caine and Douglas have a long history recording in each other's projects and they released the gorgeous duo Present Joys (Greenleaf Music, 2014) which recreated Sacred Harp Psalm music. Add to their duo the master colorist Andrew Cyrille who has been the percussionist of choice for artists such as Wadada Leo Smith, Cecil Taylor, Bill Dixon, Oliver Lake, and Dave Burrell. His hand galvanizes "False Alligences" (for Carla Bley) with mallets, and "Rose And Thorn" with sleight of hand cymbal work. All of which has a sort of ballyhoo-effect on Caine and Douglas. The latter piece shines with Caine's off-kilter stride piano and Douglas' immaculate waxing horn lines. Their dedication to Dizzy Gillespie "We Pray" is a most gentle and reverent composition that fills the heart with its sweet full-bodied sound. Other dedications are to the Italian pianist Franco D'Andrea, Mary Lou Williams, the Olympian runner Steve Prefontaine, and Aine Nakamura and the Mannes/New School composition class. If the finest compliment one can pay to a recording is that you could listen to it repeatedly all day, grab a chair and begin.
Curly; D’Andrea; Francis Of Anthony; Miljøsang; False Allegiances; Prefontaine; Pacific; Rose And Thorn; We
Andrew Cyrille: drums, percussion; Dave Douglas: trumpet; Uri Caine: piano.
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