Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Dave Douglas: Gifts


Dave Douglas: Gifts


Sign in to view read count
Dave Douglas: Gifts
Dave Douglas' Gifts emerges not merely as a collection of tracks but as an opulent gala in honor of the eternal essence of music, welcoming audiences across the spectrum of generations to partake in its celebration. This project is akin to a masterfully blended concoction of shared human emotions and experiences, articulated through the universal dialect of melodies that defy time constraints. It is a sonic tour de force, intricately weaving together the threads of history, the present and what lies ahead, serving as a reminder that music is both a cherished inheritance and a precious legacy.

The assembly of musicians Douglas congregates for this endeavor resembles a league of extraordinary musical virtuosos, each contributing their unique prowess to forge a soundscape as diverse as it is dynamic. Their collective expertise and ingenuity promise a journey of auditory exploration, akin to navigating the vast expanse of the jazz universe aboard a vessel propelled by boundless creativity.

At the commencement of the album is the eponymous track "Gifts," where Douglas' trumpet heralds a jubilee, complemented by Rafiq Bhatia's use of ethereal guitar effects, crafting an ambiance that oscillates between festive and solemn. Following suit, James Brandon Lewis' saxophone elevates the piece into a vivacious escapade. Here, the ensemble acts less as a mere group of musicians and more like conjurers of musical enchantment.

The reinterpretation of "Take the 'A' Train," Billy Strayhorn's piece, which was immortalized by Duke Ellington, receives a contemporary transformation under Douglas' direction. Envision jazz and rock convening in a lively celebration aboard a metro train—this track encapsulates that essence. Ian Chang's relaxed drumming provides the cadence of this locomotive celebration, with Bhatia's guitar lines weaving through the composition like fleeting city lights. This time-honored melody is rejuvenated with a fresh modern twist, dancing in novel exhilarating ways.

"Small Bar" introduces itself like a shadowy figure in a film noir, with guitar and drums engaging in a cryptic dialogue before Douglas' trumpet intercedes, smoothing over the underlying tension with a tone that is simultaneously sharp and melodically rich. Yet "Third Dream" decelerates the session's tempo, presenting a ballad that offers a contemplative counterpoint to the presentation's overall exuberance. It highlights Douglas's breadth as a trumpeter, composer and band leader, adept at evoking deep emotional resonances and underscoring his position as a luminary of jazz innovation.

Track Listing

Gifts; Kind of Teal; Take the 'A' Train; Rain Check; Blood Count; Day Dream; Seven Years Ago; Small Bar; Third Dream; Goodbyes.


Dave Douglas
James Brandon Lewis
saxophone, tenor
Ian Chang

Album information

Title: Gifts | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Greenleaf Music

< Previous



For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.


September Night
Tomasz Stańko
A Different Light
Carl Clements
Cubop Lives!
Zaccai Curtis
Beautiful Moons Ago
The Gabrielle Stravelli Trio


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.