It's a promising sign to see that the revivalist movement once fronted by Wynton Marsalis has now given way to a manifold and more healthy jazz outlook. A bi-product of the shifting mores, trumpeter Dave Douglas could be considered a renaissance man, ready to carry the music to the next level. JazzTimes magazine's 1999 Musician of the Year, Douglas regularly leads a number of ensembles. From the Balkan strains of his Tiny Bell Trio to the Indian-jazz group Satya, the trumpeter approaches each unit's particular requirements with ease and as if they were all cut of the same cloth.
For his major label debut, Douglas decided to employ his sextet, a group that includes such heavy-hitters as pianist Uri Caine, drummer Joey Baron, and saxophonists Greg Tardy and Chris Speed. In addition, he continues his perceptive string of tribute projectsprevious efforts have been dedicated to the works of Wayne Shorter and Booker Little- by suggesting the essence of the pioneering, but sadly neglected pianist Mary Lou Williams.
A microcosm of Douglas' musical disposition in general, there's a great deal of variety to the material at hand. The majority of the cuts are his own originals and they range in spirit from the strutting boogaloo of "Blue Heaven" to the collective "burn" embodied in pieces such as "Multiples" and "Moon of the West." The Williams tunes tend to be shorter, but they're bold in coloration and vivacity and equally agreeable. An appreciation unlike few before it, Douglas pays homage while asserting a rare and budding original voice.
Track Listing: Blue Heaven, Ageless, Soul On Soul, Moon of the West, Canticle, Aries, Mary's Idea, Waltz Boogie, Multiples, Kyrie, Zonish, Eleven Years Old, Play It Momma
Personnel: Dave Douglas: trumpet; Greg Tardy, Chris Speed: tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet; Joshua Roseman: trombone; Uri Caine: piano; James Genus: bass; Joey Baron: drums