Reviews that mention Dave Douglas

August 27, 2020

Dave Douglas

Dizzy Atmosphere
Greenleaf Music GRE-CD-1076

Too many recorded salutes to famous Jazz player are like visiting Lenin in his Moscow Mausoleum. You’re getting an embalmed, static version of what was an animated personality. But trumpeter Dave Douglas won’t settle for a rote replication of already defined sounds. Dizzy Atmosphere consists in the main of Douglas compositions written to honor Dizzy Gillespie’s legacy, Plus the improvising combo’s personnel is unlike any of the legendary honoree’s bands: two trumpets – Douglas protégé Dave Adewumi is the other– younger players pianist Fabian Almazan, guitarist Matt Stevens and bassist Carmen Rothwell; plus veteran drummer Joey Baron. MORE

March 14, 2020

Dave Douglas

Greenleaf Music GRE-CD-1074

Ig Hennenan/Jaimie Branch/Anne LaBerge

Dropping Stuff and other Folk Songs

Relative Pitch RPR 1094



Clean Feed CF 539 CD

Birgit Ulner & Benoit Cancoin

Electric Green

Blumlein No #


Possible Worlds

SOFA 575

Something in the Air: Expanding the Trumpet’s Role and Range Outwards

By Ken Waxman

With the trumpet’s traditional heraldic and heroic roles in most music, and construction which depends on only three valves, tubing and a bell, it would seem that distinctive brass innovation would be at a premium. Yet as the following discs demonstrate those who mix innovative concepts and technical sophistication can create notable exploratory sessions. MORE

July 14, 2019

Dave Douglas - Uri Caine - Andrew Cyrille

Greenleaf Music GRE CD-1071

Distinguished musical artists saluting other eminent artists would be the easiest method of describing proceedings on Devotion. Less decorously, the disc is actually 10 intricate compositions by trumpeter Dave Douglas performed in an unhurried but swinging fashion by three of the most serious and forward-looking contemporary Jazz musicians, Douglas himself, pianist Uri Caine and authoritative percussionist Andrew Cyrille.

The three, who have been associated with visionary stylists ranging from Cecil Taylor to John Zorn, and whose performances have encompassed interpretation of Sacred Harp, so-called classical and Haitian sound as well as exploratory Free Music, seem perfectly attuned as to how best to deal with tunes, which salute figures as expected as pianist Mary Lou Williams (“Rose and Thorn”) to Jerome Horwitz (“Curly”). That Jerome Horwitz is Douglas’ favorite of the Three Stooges. MORE

March 16, 2019

Dave Douglas

Greenleaf Music GRE-CD-1068

Agit-prop in intention but not in sound, Uplift collects 12 compositions trumpeter Dave Douglas recorded and released during 2018 to draw attention to entities working for positive social change in an increasingly dysfunctional United States. With the politics reflected in titles rather than lyrics, the trumpeter organized an all-star ensemble alongside him to amplify these statements. They are Joe Lovano playing saxophones, clarinet and flute; guitarists Mary Halvorson and Julian Lage; bassist Bill Laswell and Ian Chang on drums and electronics. MORE

April 27, 2018

Dave Douglas

Little Giant Still Life
Greenleaf Music GRE-CD-1058

Little Giant Still Life is a capillary showcase featuring a dozen new compositions by trumpeter Dave Douglas, interpreted by the composer, The Westerlies brass quartet and drummer Anwar Marshall. Inspired by the bright color palate of painter Stuart Davis, Douglas’ tunes also include episodes of darkness since they were written during the 2016 American presidential race. While echoing New Orleans marching bands and brass ensembles is common in concert music, this collection of mostly spirit-lifters with brief, varicolored solos, in the main proves that with the proper arrangements – musical or otherwise – additions textures from strings or reeds aren’t needed. MORE

January 7, 2017

Festival Report

By Ken Waxman

Appropriately the mid-point of Festival Jazzdor’s second week was November 11, when ceremonies honor soldiers who died during both world wars. Reflecting music’s universality though, Strasbourg’s Jazzdor presented several concerts in nearby Offenburg, Germany throughout the festival. This is despite the fact that Strasbourg, a French city of unique Alsatian meals and mixed French and German architecture, atmosphere and street signs, is in a region conquered by Germany from 1870-1917 and 1940-1944. MORE

February 6, 2016

Blue Buddha

Blue Buddha
Tzadik TZ 4010

By Ken Waxman

Some musicians are so comfortable with free jazz that they work through its challenges as effortlessly as they breathe. Case in point is tenor saxophonist Louie Belogenis who as part of the Prima Materia group during the ‘90s partnered drum master Rashied Ali. But Blue Buddha is more than Belogenis demonstrating his command of the idiom. Instead, the seven spiritually infused tracks establish a group identity among the saxophonist and three other players who are anything but hard-core free jazzers. MORE

February 6, 2015

DVD Focus:

Misha Mengelberg (ICP 044/Data Images 03)

Contrary, brilliant, lazy, disruptive, complacent are all adjective applied to , pianist/bandleader/composer Misha Mengelberg who has defined the Dutch style of improvisation or so-called instant composing since its late 1960s birth. Afijn is a masterful portrait of the man, edited and directed by Jellie Dekker. Interspaced with views on the cunning and mischievous pianist from musicians ranging from long-time partner, drummer Han Bennink (who says he started playing solo because “Misha never showed up for the first set”) to trumpeter Dave Douglas, plus friends, students and associates, as well as interviews with the subject himself done over many years A piano autodidact, who then studied and later taught at the conservatory, because of his unique playing style and early involvement in anti-establishment theatre productions, Mengelberg was controversial enough so that there is filmed footage of him almost from the beginning of his career. Afijn includes archival shots of the sardonic pianist, ever-present cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth, in small groups with Bennink and others plus various incarnation of the ICP Orchestra, which the pianist, drummer and reedist Willem Breuker founded. MORE

April 2, 2014


Greenleaf Music GLM 1036

Tom Rainey


Intakt Records CD 227

Flex Bent Braam



The Whammies

Play the Music of Steve Lacy Vol. 2

Driff Records CD 1303

Braxtornette Project

Die Hochstapler

Umlaut Records ub004

Something In The Air: A New Take on Standards – Jazz and Otherwise

By Ken Waxman

Since jazz’s beginnings, the measure of a musician’s talent has not only been how well the person improvises, but also how he or she interprets standards. In the 21st century a standard song has evolved past its Tin Pan Alley origins, plus distinctive purely jazz compositions have entered the canon. But while more conservative players treat standards as immutable, the CDs here are noteworthy because their creators distinctively re-imagine standards. MORE

July 27, 2006

Dave Douglas Quintet

Meaning and Mystery
Greenleaf Music GRE-04

Reminiscent of Miles Davis’ ability to replace one notable saxophonist with another in his classic bands, trumpeter Dave Douglas has tapped tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin to succeed Chris Potter and – briefly – Rick Margitza in his working quintet’s front line.

California native McCaslin, who played with the Mingus Big Band and Maria Schneider’s Jazz Orchestra, at points injects rubato comments, but usually lets his riffing arpeggios serve as foils to Douglas’ trumpeting multiphonics. Dutiful on his first CD with the band, McCaslin’s musical relationship vis-à-vis the mercurial brassman is still somewhat diffident – like Hank Mobley’s was with Davis. MORE

January 23, 2006


Greenleaf Music GRE-03

Taking up the cudgel for the innovative talents of silent movie comedian Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle (1887-1933), trumpeter Dave Douglas has, in the process, managed to produce a CD that’s both descriptive and distinctive.

Packed with a DVD of one complete and one excerpt from two 1915 films Arbuckle directed and starred in for the Keystone production company – hence the title – Douglas has not only composed new underscores, but 11 notable themes that easily stand on their own. That’s a good thing too, for despite the trumpeter’s brief for the technological prowess of Arbuckle, whose career was tragically cut short following 1920s Hollywood’s first celebrity trial, the physical comedy appears pretty primitive and overdone, viewed 90 years later. MORE

September 19, 2005


Mountain Passages
Greenleaf Music GRE-01

Focused around moods and memory, trumpeter Dave Douglas’ 22nd recording – and first on his own label – cements his reputation as the most accomplished mainstream trumpeter around.

Unlike a certain other famous brassman who spends his time looking backwards to what jazz was, Douglas is forward looking enough in his playing and composing, to adapt other influences, from European folk airs to contemporary classical sounds,. At the same time, like most of the CDs he’s made recently, the 13 melodic and muted themes on the CD won’t upset even the most casual jazz listener. If that unnamed trumpeter and his Young Lions hadn’t retarded the improvisation tradition so, the minute deviations from 4/4 swing and blues tonalities here wouldn’t be heard as far out. Douglas may play often with John Zorn, but MOUNTAIN PASSAGES is nowhere near experimental sounds. MORE

February 7, 2005


Bow River Falls
Premonition Records KOCH CD 5744

Worlds Apart
Spool Line SPL124

Drummer Dylan van der Schyff and cellist Peggy Lee are the elements that connect these two sessions. With international reputations, -- Lee having played with the Portuguese violinist Carlos Zingaro and American reedist Vinny Golia, while van der Schyff has worked with British saxist John Butcher and American cornetist Rob Mazurek -- the Canadian husband and wife live in Vancouver, B.C., and have built their careers from there. MORE

March 8, 2002


Four in One
Songlines SJ-1535-SACD

Analogous to the stereotypical eccentric scientist experimenting in his lab filled with bubbling beakers and test tubes, composer/pianist Misha Mengelberg has, since the early 1960s, probably more than anyone else created what we think of as modern Dutch jazz.

With his faithful associate, Han Bennink -- whose playing is often as deranged and disruptive as it is theatrical -- usually loping behind, drum sticks in hand and snare on the floor, Mengelberg has mixed up his distinctive strange brew that seems totally unique in the land of windmills, canals and dikes. With a dash of experimental classical, a splash of American post bop and a lowlands infusion of comedic anarchy, he’s produced a hybrid Frankenstein monster that’s distinctive without scaring the pants off anyone -- although Bennink seems to prefer wearing shorts when he plays. MORE

July 22, 2000


It's A Brand New Day
Knitting Factory KFW-271

Tom Cora's death, at 44 in 1998, not only robbed music of one of its few improvising cellists, but also of one versatile enough to move seamlessly between jazz, rock, improv and something resembling "ethnic" music. But, after all, what would you expect from a musician whose playing partners including everyone from guitarists Eugene Chadbourne and Fred Frith to composer/saxophonist John Zorn and singer Catherine Jauniaux?

This memorial CD, made up of performances recorded at the New York's Knitting Factory between 1989 and 1996, highlights his versatility. And that's its strength as well as its weakness.