When Dizzy Gillespie put his hat in the ring for President of the United States in 1964, he also offered to be the first African-American astronaut, just in case they couldn’t find anyone else. In making Dizzy Atmosphere, Dave Douglas’s tribute to the great trumpeter, composer and humanist, Douglas said he wanted to explore Dizzy’s experimental and wide open mind as well as the influence of his music.
Dave Douglas has a superb experienced trio supporting him on Moving Portrait. The session consists of the trumpeter's compositions plus three by Joni Mitchell. Douglas feels that the words, music, and meaning of Mitchell's songs provide an excellent starting place for his ensemble to improvise in jazz. Like all forms of art, the result is a session that includes drama, variety, and a story that attaches different meanings to each viewer or listener. Douglas' music evolves from the hard bop idiom, with special care given to the presentation of his unique ideas. The trumpeter uses a soft attack, round tone, fluid articulation, and unlimited imagination to honor beauty in various forms. Pianist Bill Carrothers is adventuresome in his approach and complements the trumpeter well. Genus and Hart provide a variety of colors to match Douglas' limitless palette.
Working with the same quintet that delivered his 2012 album Be Still, trumpeter Dave Douglas returns to a more straight-ahead, if no less adventurous, jazz style with 2013's Time Travel. Once again joining Douglas here are his bandmates saxophonist Jon Irabagon, pianist Matt Mitchell, bassist Linda Oh, and drummer Rudy Royston. Absent is vocalist Aoife O'Donovan, who was the focal point of Be Still's hymn, folk song, and ballads approach. Here, Douglas is interested in a more angular post-bop sound that, while still evincing a modern creative vibe, fits more squarely into the jazz tradition than Be Still. Which isn't to say this album is staid by any means. On the contrary, Douglas has penned a handful of harmonically challenging pieces that mix the knotty, rambunctious angularity of Thelonious Monk with the expansive impressionist modalism of '60s Miles Davis.
French pianist Martial Solal is joined by American trumpeter Dave Douglas for this inspired duo session. Solal has long been one of Europe's top pianists, while he has made occasional trips to the U.S. to perform, while Douglas has become a favorite of critics for his diverse recordings. The 35-year age difference between the musicians means nothing, as they react like old friends who have played together countless times. The session is staged in an unusual fashion, alternating between originals by each player over the first six tracks, followed by several timeless standards. Douglas begins on muted horn for Solal's quirky "July Shower," stimulated by the pianist's unpredictable accompaniment that focuses on the lower half of the keyboard.
The irrepressible Dave Douglas delivers another installment in the life of the Tiny Bell Trio, which features his own inimitable trumpet style, but the rhythmic invention of Jim Black on drums, and Brad Shepik's emotionally vulnerable yet volatile guitar playing. Where previous Tiny Bell outings have focused on the possibilities for texture, dynamic, and atmospheric possibilities within a given compositional structure, Songs for Wandering Souls places its eye firmly on group execution this set of compositions – all but two of which are by Douglas, the others arranged by him especially for this of his many groups. The disc opens with "Sam Hill," a beautiful "song," where the lead "call" voice is carried by Douglas, but its "response" is in the lyrical flow of Shepik's string interplay.
Trumpeter Dave Douglas has participated in so many styles of music that listing them all would be mesmerizing. Some of his best work has been performed in free style and hard bop jazz groups. Here, he charts a different path, albeit one that he has pursued successfully before, in a mellow, lovely vein. Douglas is the only horn, backed by Guy Klucevsek's eclectic accordion, Mark Feldman's gloriously sweet violin, and Greg Cohen's acoustic string bass. With some exceptions, the dynamics are generally low, the tempos slow, and the mood serene. There is almost a post-minimalism to it all, capped by the exquisite sound of Douglas' trumpet.
What a pleasure it is to hear this recording of pieces commissioned for composer/trumpeter/bandleader Dave Douglas and his ensembles to accompany performances by the Trisha Brown Dance Company. By 2001, Douglas had proven to have appeal beyond the more narrowly avant-garde New York downtown scene where he was ensconced throughout much of the '90s, and El Trilogy presents a fine example of his broadened appeal. For one thing, Charms of the Night Sky (Douglas on trumpet along with accordionist Guy Klucevsek, violinist Mark Feldman, and bassist Greg Cohen), presented on most of the CD, was always one of Douglas' most warmly beautiful outlets, with intimate, evocative, and lyrical qualities that effectively balanced the rigorous and challenging compositional and improvisational aspects of Douglas' conception.
Scandal marks the first time that trumpeter Dave Douglas and saxophonist Joe Lovano have recorded a full studio album of material together, revealing a passionately adventurous band for whom no territory is off-limits. As on their live debut recording, Sound Prints features pianist Lawrence Fields, bassist Linda May Han Oh, and drummer Joey Baron. The super group heads off into swinging, heartfelt and sophisticated new territory inspired by saxophonist giant Wayne Shorter. Two of Shorter's pieces receive special treatment. A truly fantastic and original group playing new originals and music by Shorter.