392

Dave Douglas: Freak In

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Wherever the boundaries used to be, they no longer exist. Trumpeter Dave Douglas doesn't believe in that sort of thing, anyway. The eclectic mix on Freak In represents yet another departure for Douglas, the most exciting record he's made in his career as a leader. The heady stew includes swing, hard bop, mellow jazz, Indian tablas, loose funk, deep rock grooves, electronics, and helter-skelter abandon. Douglas gained a reputation in John Zorn's school of postmodern reconstruction, but his recordings to date have had a thematic focus. His recent Witness (Bluebird, 2001) and The Infinite (Bluebird, 2002) were strong critical favorites, each mining the modern jazz zone—beyond bop headed into fusion and free. This record may piss too many people off. Who cares.

Of the twelve tunes on the record, "Black Rock Park" best illustrates the breadth of Freak In and the clever ways Douglas chooses to combine styles. It launches with a punchy blues groove led by Marc Ribot's guitar, riding over spare (acoustic) drums. The guitarist briefly heads into shredding rock territory before coming together with Douglas for his statement of a simple climaxing theme. As retro keyboards slip in, saxophonist Chris Speed lands an adventurous bop-oriented solo. Another solo from Douglas, then it's back to the theme and out. The approach lies somewhere between Miles Davis's idea of jazz/rock fusion and John Zorn's conscious stylistic eclecticism. But unlike Zorn's jumpy postmodern bent, this record seeks to blend things together into a coherent, logical flow.

Douglas recruited a surprising variety of musicians for the date, dominated by New York's avant-garde insider circle. The electronic/percussion department lends texture and groove reinforcement, while guitarist Marc Ribot exploits his ability to set the group on fire. Douglas himself travels through a remarkable range of tone on his instrument—begone Miles Davis comparisons!

It's very important to point out that, whatever the range of material on this record, Freak In remains coherent all the way. That's a real feat given the circumstances, and a strong incentive for open-minded jazz lovers of all stripes. This is the boldest record Dave Douglas has ever made. And his best, which is saying a lot.

Visit Dave Douglas and Bluebird Jazz on the web.

Track Listing: Freak In; Culver City Park; Black Rock Park; Hot Club of 13th Street; Eastern Parkway; November; Porto Alegre; The Great Schism; Wild Blue; Maya; Traveler There Is No Road; Bonus Track.

Personnel: Dave Douglas: trumpet, keyboards, voice; Jamie Saft: keyboards, loops, programming; Marc Ribot: electric guitar; Karsh Kale: tabla and additional drums; Joey Baron: drums; Romero Lubambo: acoustic guitar; Brad Jones: Ampeg baby bass, acoustic bass; Ikue Mori: electronic percussion; Seamus Blake: saxophone; Chris Speed: saxophone, clarinet; Craig Taborn: Fender Rhodes; Michael Sarin: drums.

Title: Freak In | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Bluebird

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Garden State

Garden State

Dave Douglas
Time Travel

Bad Mango

Bad Mango

Dave Douglas
Bad Mango

The Gulf

The Gulf

Dave Douglas
Orange Afternoons

Safeway

Safeway

Dave Douglas
Rare Metals

Album Reviews
Radio
Genius Guide to Jazz
Radio
In Pictures
Live Reviews
Catching Up With
Album Reviews
Genius Guide to Jazz
Live Reviews
Interviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Devotion

Devotion

Greenleaf Music
2019

buy
The New National Anthem

The New National...

Greenleaf Music
2017

buy
Little Giant Still Life

Little Giant Still...

Greenleaf Music
2017

buy
Dark Territory

Dark Territory

Greenleaf Music
2016

buy
Dada People

Dada People

Greenleaf Music
2016

buy
High Risk

High Risk

Greenleaf Music
2015

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Jul18Thu
Dave Douglas
Stadtgarten
Cologne, Germany
Jul23Tue
Dave Douglas
Vortex Jazz Club
London, UK
Jul26Fri
Dave Douglas
Festival Marseille Jazz Des Cinq Continents
Marseille, France
Jul27Sat
Dave Douglas
San Sebastian Jazz Festival
San Sebastian, Spain

Related Articles

Read New York Trio Album Reviews
New York Trio
By Troy Dostert
July 18, 2019
Read Visions Album Reviews
Visions
By Friedrich Kunzmann
July 18, 2019
Read Invincible Nimbus Album Reviews
Invincible Nimbus
By Jerome Wilson
July 18, 2019
Read Syzygy Album Reviews
Syzygy
By Don Phipps
July 18, 2019
Read Shafted Album Reviews
Shafted
By Edward Blanco
July 17, 2019
Read Live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club Album Reviews
Live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club
By Don Phipps
July 17, 2019
Read New Year Album Reviews
New Year
By Dan Bilawsky
July 17, 2019