Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
373

Dave Douglas: Mountain Passages

Brandt Reiter By

Sign in to view read count Views
Dave Douglas: Mountain Passages A chunky stew of countless cultural influences and myriad musical forms, jazz has always stolen freely from just about anything it could get its hands on. This unfettered kleptomania has always been key to music's vibrant nature, yet at the same time has made the music itself increasingly difficult to define.

Case in point: pathologically restless trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas' Mountain Passages , the first release by his newly minted Greenleaf label. The 41-year-old Douglas, who seems intent on creating a different ensemble for every day of the year (this is the debut recording by the quintet he calls Nomad), has made a fascinating career out of rampant eclecticism; any one of his twenty-plus leader discs is more likely to contain variations on Webern or Schumann or traditional Hungarian cs'rd's than Ellington or Weill. Thus, being a Douglas recording, Mountain Passages is almost predictable in its unpredictability, from its unconventional lineup (with reedist Michael Moore, cellist Peggy Lee, tubaist Marcus Rojas, and drummer Dylan van der Scheff) to the circumstances surrounding its genesis. (The Festival at the Sound of the Dolomites in Northern Italy asked Douglas to compose music that would be "played between nine and twelve-thousand feet"—and was.)

Comprised of twelve short Douglas originals (most clock in at around four minutes or less), it's a warm, airy, lyrical album, swept with snatches of Alpine folk melodies, woozy oom-pah rhythms, swanny balladeering, Raymond Scott-like cartoon swing and leisurely free improvisation. Yet the captivating Passages also has a tightly composed, chamber music feel to it; as is Douglas' habit with small ensembles, each instrument holds an equally prominent place in the conversation. The music is at turns solemn, whimsical, darkly melancholic and plaintively gorgeous, but what exactly is it? Jazz? Well, yeah... sort of... maybe... sure. It's certainly as much jazz as it is as anything else and—like all Douglas' explorations—undeniably worth your attention.


Track Listing: Summit Music; Family of the Climber; Gnarly Schnapps; Gumshoe; Twelve Degrees Proof; North Point Memorial; Cannonball Run; Palisades; A Nasty Spill; Purple Mountains Majesty; Off Major; Bury Me Standing; Encore: All Is Forgiven.

Personnel: Dave Douglas: trumpet; Peggy Lee: cello; Michael Moore: clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone; Marcus Rojas: tuba; Dylan van der Schyff: drums.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Greenleaf Music | Style: Beyond Jazz


CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Dark Territory
Dark Territory
Greenleaf Music
2016
buy
High Risk
High Risk
Greenleaf Music
2015
buy
Brazen Heart
Brazen Heart
Greenleaf Music
2015
buy
Riverside
Riverside
Greenleaf Music
2014
buy
Present Joys
Present Joys
Greenleaf Music
2014
buy
Time Travel
Time Travel
Greenleaf Music
2013
buy
Miles Davis Miles Davis
trumpet
Pat Metheny Pat Metheny
guitar
John Coltrane John Coltrane
saxophone
Freddie Hubbard Freddie Hubbard
trumpet
Wayne Shorter Wayne Shorter
saxophone
Eric Dolphy Eric Dolphy
reeds
Ornette Coleman Ornette Coleman
sax, alto
Bill Frisell Bill Frisell
guitar

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.