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Dave Douglas – Be Still

16th Jul 12 (Mon) Leave a comment

My favorite living trumpet player is most definitely, without a doubt, the wonderful and talented melodic-lyricist Dave Douglas.  Next on the docket for him is Be Still, a collection of “deeply personal hymns and originals” with his new quintet featuring Americana vocalist Aoife O’Donovan.  It comes out on September 25, 2012, on Dave’s label – Greenleaf Music.

With Dave and (special guest) Aoife, rounding out the quintet is Jon Irabagon, Matt Mitchell, Linda Oh, and Rudy Royston.  Dave will also go out on a 50-date U.S. Tour in 2013 to celebrate his 50th birthday.  I hope to catch it, as it’s been a while since I’ve seen him.

More press on Be Still below…

Dave Douglas describes the title of his new release, Be Still, as “aspirational.” The continually evolving trumpeter and composer settles down for a ballad-like set that presents a series of hymns and folk songs with an intensely personal connection. Be Still brings out the most lyrical side of Douglas, and introduces both a newly configured Quintet, and an important new collaborator, vocalist and guitarist Aoife O’Donovan.

“Evolving” could easily apply to most of Dave Douglas’ releases, each of which seems to venture fearlessly into unexplored territory. This time, the journey is inward rather than outward, resulting in the most starkly personal album of his notable career. The intensity of Douglas’ focus on the music of Be Still is understandable given the album’s origins.

Douglas’ mother passed away last year after a three-year battle with ovarian cancer, and the hymns on this album appeared on a list she prepared for him to play at her memorial service. Douglas performed the music with his brass group at the service and an accompanying benefit concert. “Be Still My Soul” was one of those hymns, and the verses she chose to be sung felt to Douglas like a powerful imperative to go deeper with these church hymns and their meanings.

In the months after the service he continued to work with arranging the music, though initially reluctant to include the lyrics. On meeting O’Donovan in January of this year Douglas decided he had found the right vocal expression for the arrangements he wanted to make. The pieces on Be Still present a true marriage of folk song, congregational hymnody, sophisticated harmonies and rich rhythmic underpinnings.

When Douglas calls the album aspirational, he’s also referring to its title and the deceptively simple message it contains. “It’s a reminder to myself,” he says. “We are all so busy these days, and it’s a reminder to step back and reflect on creativity and depth of communication in the music. There are deep human interactions that go on in improvised music like this and they take time and patience to develop. Sometimes that means stepping away from the clutter of Twitter, Facebook, texting and traveling to focus on the essence of music in an intense way.”

Be Still marks the recorded debut of the new incarnation of the Dave Douglas Quintet, completed by four remarkably diverse musicians: saxophonist Jon Irabagon, pianist Matt Mitchell, bassist Linda Oh, and drummer Rudy Royston. They are joined on six songs by the expressive vocals of Aoife O’Donovan of the progressive bluegrass band Crooked Still. The repertoire mines the rich melodies of traditional hymns and folk tunes, which gain even greater depth through Douglas’ intricate arrangements.

While the material on Be Still comes from traditions that Douglas may not have explicitly evoked in the past, the album is hardly out of character. His work has always concentrated on direct communication, basic emotions couched in complex expression. “I’m always looking, even in my own composition, to find some way to make something that might be very sophisticated still have these roots in something very simple,” Douglas says. “Jazz, even at its most complex, always has its roots in the music of the people, in popular music. That’s one of the reasons that I connected with these songs.”

Folk music purists would undoubtedly be affected by the crystalline clarity of O’Donovan’s voice on the tender “Be Still My Soul” or the Appalachian stomp of “High on a Mountain.” But underlying that back porch folksiness are intriguing harmonies and clever soloing, embodied by Irabagon’s pitch-perfect countrypolitan sax solo on “High on a Mountain.”

In addition to the classic songs, Douglas penned three new compositions for the album in the same spirit. “Living Streams” is a completely new setting for a traditional Scottish hymn, while “Going Somewhere With You” is as lushly tuneful as the surrounding material. The quintet tour de force “Middle March” was written just after Douglas heard the news of the death of legendary drummer Paul Motian and possesses a free-floating lyricism familiar from Motian’s own compositions.

Be Still is merely the latest new direction in a career that has been full of them, all pointing forward. One of the most influential and inventive composers and trumpeters in modern jazz, Dave Douglas leads several creative ensembles: Keystone, which performs his music composed for and inspired by film; Brass Ecstasy, the eclectic brass band; and his latest, the Sound Prints Quintet with Joe Lovano, Lawrence Fields, Linda Oh, and Joey Baron. He has served as the artistic director of the Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music at The Banff Centre in Canada for ten seasons, an honor he recently handed over to pianist/composer Vijay Iyer. Dave Douglas is also co-founder and director of the Festival of New Trumpet Music, which celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2012.

This latest incarnation of the Dave Douglas Quintet fully lives up to its diverse and ground-breaking predecessors. Saxophonist Jon Irabagon’s unpredictable career has led him from the off-the-wall antics of Mostly Other People Do the Killing to his decidedly straightahead leader debut The Observer, released shortly after he won the 2008 Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition. Matt Mitchell’s piano work strays from classical to the avant-garde, and lately has found him collaborating with innovators like John Hollenbeck and Tim Berne.

Chinese-Malay-Aussie bassist Linda Oh grabbed the jazz world’s attention with her self-released debut Entry in 2009, and further cemented her place as one of the music’s rising stars with this year’s Initial Here on Douglas’ Greenleaf Music. She reteams with her drummer from that album, Rudy Royston, in the Douglas quintet. Royston is best known for his long association with guitarist Bill Frisell, but his credits also include Ravi Coltrane, Jenny Scheinman, Jason Moran and Don Byron.

In the hands of these five musicians, these tunes are undeniably spiritual – but that’s less a result of their origins than the quintet’s deeply personal collective approach. “Music, in the way that I practice it, is my spiritual life,” Douglas says.

“My mother was pretty specific about the verses that she wanted sung, and as I started looking at them I realized I felt right at home here. You search a lot of places in your life. Especially from knowing so many evolved musicians I feel I’ve been exposed to many different traditions and different ways of viewing our place in the world. It’s amazing how all of them seem to lead back to the same place of unity and oneness. After working on this music and being in my mother’s church it felt like a return to the spiritual outlook I started out with, but with a deeper understanding and meaning for me. And now I don’t know, maybe that’s what she was really after!”

~Dan – np: Levi WeaverThe Letters of Dr. Kurt Gödel

Peter Mulvey – new streams from ‘The Good Stuff’

10th Mar 12 (Sat) Leave a comment

Each day or so, until presumably they’ve all been streamed, Midwest singer-songwriter Peter Mulvey is releasing tracks from his upcoming album, The Good Stuff.

Here’s the first one – “But I Do” a standard written by Bobby Charles & Clarence Henry:

(notice: this is linked from PM’s site & may only be available for a short time)

For further streams, visit: http://www.petermulvey.com/

Pre-ordering of the album will be live the week of March 20th (and it comes out March 27th).  He’s in my “buy every time without question” club… a perpetual favorite.  Do yourself a solid and add him to your collection!

~Dan – np: John ZornIpsissimus

Over the Rhine on The Portland Sessions

5th Jan 12 (Thu) 1 comment

Last November, Cincinnati-based folk-Americana band Over the Rhine stopped by Portland, Oregon.  Their show at the Aladdin Theater on 11/17 is recounted at my post HERE.

From the stage, singer Karin Bergquist mentioned that they had stopped by and recorded in-studio with The Portland SessionsTPS wasn’t up and running yet, but it is now posted… enjoy all 26 minutes!

They play “The King Knows How” (dedicated to Elvis), “Oh Yeah by the Way,” the new song that I’m unofficially calling “On The Sacred Ground,” the Good Dog Bad Dog classic “Latter Days,” and end it with a Q&A.

Follow Over the Rhine: WEB / FB / Tw
Follow The Portland Sessions: WEB / FB / Tw

~Dan – np: Year of the RabbitYear of the Rabbit

REVIEW: Over the Rhine @ Aladdin Theater (Portland, OR – 11/17/11)

20th Nov 11 (Sun) 4 comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

Prior to the show, we fought against the horrid Portland traffic, dodged rain and ducked into a fine meal at Portobello Trattoria, a creative vegetarian establishment that is fast becoming my new favorite SE Portland dinner spot.  Their cocktail list is impressive (apple-infused vodka ginger hot toddy), their bottle list is impressive (Russian River… yum), and their menu is the kind that is frustrating due to having too many things you want and one that a meat-eater wouldn’t even notice or care.  Check it out sometime.

After dinner, we got to the venue a little bit before the opener… we had a little bit of time to catch up with Kentucky-based friend / Over the Rhine photographer Bill Ivester.  He’s helping them out on this tour with merch and social media, and photography.  After briefly catching up, we found some seats for the opener…

The Milk Carton Kids were a fantastic guitar duo.  Based on their name, I was going in hoping it wasn’t going to be a repeat of “The Children’s Hour” opener for Over the Rhine a score ago.  Well, I was greatly pleased.  They played about a half hour set of mellower folk songs.  Fitting for fans of Paul Simon.  Excellent guitar chops and quite humorous between songs, as well.  They also have all of their recorded music available for free mp3 download (go here for free music).

Over the Rhine hit the stage at 9pm.  Karin & Linford had Nick Radina with them again on drums/percussion/cuatro, as well as a slide guitar player Jason Goforth.

The set seemed somewhat similar to last year’s tour, a lot of The Long Surrender tunes.  But this time, the album was officially out.  It was nice to hear those tunes more in a live setting.  I get thrown off that it’s technically a 2011 release, I think I’ve had it too long.  Anyway, it’s a beautiful record, and it’ll wind up somewhere at the top of the pile for 2011, for sure.

Setlist: 1 hour 45 mins

  • The Laugh Of Recognition
  • Rave On
  • Undamned
  • The King Knows How
  • Suitcase
  • I’m on a Roll
  • Infamous Love Song
  • Only God Can Save Us Now
  • Latter Days
  • “On The Sacred Ground” (new song, currently untitled)
  • Jesus in New Orleans
  • Trouble (with drum solo)
  • All My Favorite People
  • Encore: Hallelujah [Leonard Cohen]
  • Born
  • Drunkard’s Prayer

My favorite tunes of the night were “Trouble” and “Latter Days,” and the lead-in of “Laugh…” through “Undamned” is a great start to the show as well.  The new currently untitled song is great… it seemed quite poetic and moving.  Karin was about to give out a tentative title, then stopped.  I’ll go with “On the Sacred Ground” for now, but I doubt that’s it.  I wish I had more listens to digest it.

They’re wrapping up a few more dates this year, culminating in the annual Taft Theatre show in Cincinnati.  Catch ’em if you can!  Oh, Karin also mentioned that they recorded a Portland Session when they were here.  Keep an eye out on the Portland Session Vimeo & Facebook pages for that to be posted in the future (HERE NOW).

many more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below.

Next show for me… Dan Deacon at the Branx in Portland on 12/3.

~Dan – np: Sigur RósInní (live)

OVER THE RHINE PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2011 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

Fall 2011 Tour Dates

  • Fri, 2011-11-18 Seattle, WA The Triple Door
  • Sat, 2011-11-19 Seattle, WA The Triple Door
  • Sun, 2011-11-20 Seattle, WA The Triple Door
  • Fri, 2011-12-02 Boston, MA Berklee Performance Center
  • Sat, 2011-12-03 New York, NY (le) poisson rouge
  • Sun, 2011-12-04 Alexandria, VA The Birchmere
  • Mon, 2011-12-05 Philadelphia, PA World Cafe Live!
  • Wed, 2011-12-07 Columbus, OH The Lincoln Theatre
  • Thu, 2011-12-08 Kent, OH The Kent Stage
  • Fri, 2011-12-09 Grand Rapids, MI Calvin College
  • Sat, 2011-12-10 Chicago, IL Old Town School Of Folk Music (7:00 PM)
  • Sat, 2011-12-10 Chicago, IL Old Town School Of Folk Music (10:00 PM)
  • Sat, 2011-12-17 Cincinnati, OH The Taft Theatre
  • Sun, 2011-12-18 Norwood, OH Sunday Soiree @ St. Elizabeth’s

REVIEW: Jeffrey Foucault @ Cozmic Pizza (Eugene, OR – 10/20/11)

21st Oct 11 (Fri) 1 comment

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

I’ve been to many shows at Cozmic Pizza in downtown Eugene, but this was my first time in their newly remodeled place.  Great new ordering queue/system, same great beer & pizza, great new stage, great new sound system.  I can’t recommend the new digs enough!!  On to the show…

I got there right after sound check… chatted with some folks, ordered some grub, an settled in for the opener.  Jeffery Martin, from Eugene, played about a half hour set.  His sound fit well with Jeffrey Foucault’s… Jeff #1 had an earthy, folky, Americana storyteller vibe.  He didn’t necessarily “jump out” at me, but many singer-songwriters can bore.  Bottom line: I’d see Jeffery Martin again.  He was solid at his craft.  He’s local; so I’ll most likely get a chance to see him again soon.

Jeffrey Foucault hit the stage shortly after 9.  He had slide guitarist Jay Carter (?) with him for most of the set.  They had just met / played together for the first time at the Seattle show.  Despite their newness, they worked well together.  The set contained a lot of the material (8 songs) from Jeffrey’s latest album, Horse Latitudes (samples via image to the right).  Jeffrey showcased his gritty, superb storytelling in his lyrics and was in a good jokey spirit in between songs.

Foucault’s Setlist: about an hour

  • Last Night I Dreamed of Television
  • Goners Most
  • Starlight and Static
  • Pretty Girl in a Small Town
  • Passerines
  • Horse Latitudes
  • “Statesboro Blues” [Chris Dombrowski poem]
  • Twice I Left Her
  • Mesa, Arizona
  • Sixteen Tons [Merle Travis]
  • The Bluest Blade
  • Idaho
  • Everybody’s Famous
  • Encore: I Won’t Back Down [Tom Petty]

The encore was dedicated to Tom Petty – as his birthday is October 20th.  The only disappointment of the night (well, once the loud couple was told to shut up by a fellow audience member) was that Ryan Adams was playing down the street at the Shedd at the same time as Foucault’s gig.  I actually had a ticket to see Ryan Adams, but when I found out about Jeffery playing, I sold it (the heart wants what the heart wants).  Jeffrey’s audience was a little sparse due to that scheduling coincidence (I think there’s some good crossover between the two artists).

more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check Jeffrey’s remaining 2011 tour dates below.

Next show for me… a house show with Gonzalo Bergara Quartet on 10/23 Sunday in Eugene.

~Dan – np: Puscifer Conditions of My Parole

JEFFREY FOUCAULT PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2011 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

Jeffrey Foucault Fall 2011 Tour

  • 10.18.11 Seattle, WA Fremont Abbey With Danny Barnes
  • 10.19.11 Portland, OR The Woods Shelley Short opens
  • 10.20.11 Eugene, OR Cozmic Pizza Jeffery Martin opens
  • 10.21.11 Arcata, CA Arcata Playhouse Rorey Carroll opens
  • 10.24.11 Felton, CA Don Quixote’s International Music
  • 10.25.11 San Francisco, CA Cafe Du Nord Kate Gaffney opens
  • 11.05.11 Fall River, MA Narrows Center for the Arts Support to Rosanne Cash
  • 12.01.11 Portland, ME One Longfellow Square Seven Curses with Mark Erelli
  • 12.02.11 Brooklyn, NY Union Hall Seven Curses with Mark Erelli
  • 12.03.11 Pawtucket, RI Stone Soup Coffeehouse Seven Curses with Mark Erelli
  • 12.08.11 Evanston, IL SPACE
  • 12.13.11 Marshfield, WI Vox Concert Series Hayward Williams opens

Wussy – Strawberry

4th Oct 11 (Tue) 1 comment

I don’t miss Cincinnati much.  I do miss a few choice eateries (Melt, Gajah Wong, Tellers, Lemongrass, tons of Indian) and I do miss being able to see some of my favorite bands play (Over the Rhine, Ric Hordinski, Ash Peacock, Ryan Adcock, Kim Taylor, Ellery, Jason Ludwig/Noctaluca, Wussy… the list could go on for a long time).

Well, I’m happy as a doggie in a strawberry field, because the aforementioned Wussy just put out their fourth full-length studio album – Strawberry.  Wussy’s a fantastic rock quartet made up of Chuck Cleaver, Lisa Walker, Mark Messerly, and Joe Klug.  They write catchy, poppy choruses and meld it perfectly with Midwest Americana-meets-indie-rock grit (or “Midwestern drone” as their press says).

Vocal duties are traded off with Chuck (of the Ass Ponys) and Lisa (of the Magic Words… and of my college days).  The samples I’ve heard so far as right in line with what I love about them.  Go hear for yourself (the entire album is up streaming with a few FREE downloads), and then pick up a copy for yourself on bandcamp (mp3 download or limited CD).

http://wussy.bandcamp.com/album/strawberry

FYI, the CDs are limited to only 100… and I’ve got one coming to me in Oregon, so grab one of the other 99 before it’s too late.  I can’t recommend Wussy, this album, and their prior albums enough.  A+++

Other links for Wussy:
Webpage / FB / MySp / Twit

~Dan – np: Steven WilsonGrace for Drowning

REVIEW: Over the Rhine @ Aladdin (Portland, OR – 11/17/10)

18th Nov 10 (Thu) 4 comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

I went into a little history about Over the Rhine on my 11/15 WOW Hall show blog (link).  This Aladdin show was OTR Show #52 for me.  Yep… I’m OCD, I love music, and I’ve had far too many opportunities to see this wonderful band.  I’m fortunate.  Since I blathered on in the blog from two days ago… I’ll jump right into it…

Lucy Wainwright Roche did a similar set… no discussion of the car break-in clean-up, but she’s quite the humorist.  I found myself humming along to some of her tunes, as if they were long lost friends.  I only first heard her music two days prior… so I guess that’s a testament to her craft.

Over the Rhine played a fairly similar set, with a few things swapped around and the addition of “The Trumpet Child” and “Ohio.”  They nixed the instrumental, but the additional tunes made up for it in my book.  Lots of stuff from The Long Surrender.  The album is really growing on me.  I’m looking forward to the lush vinyl that will hit my mailbox sometime in early 2011.

Setlist: about 75 mins

  • The Laugh Of Recognition
  • I Don’t Wanna Waste Your Time
  • Trouble (horny & inebriated mix)
  • “The Bluebird” by Charles Bukowski [poetry reading by Karin]
  • There’s A Bluebird In My Heart
  • Rave On
  • Undamned
  • I Want You To Be My Love
  • Oh Yeah By The Way
  • I’m On A Roll (to be covered by The Judds on their next record)
  • The King Knows How
  • Drunkard’s Prayer
  • Only God Can Save Us Now
  • The Trumpet Child
  • Days Like This [Kim Taylor song]
  • All My Favorite People
  • Encore: Ohio [Karin solo on piano]
  • Infamous Love Song
  • No Kill Shelter

Once again, Over the Rhine deliver a beautiful evening.  Thanks for stopping by Karin, Linford, Nick & Lucy!  Have fun in Seattle!

many more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below.

~Dan – np: Mr. Bungle – Disco Volante

OVER THE RHINE PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2010 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

Fall 2010 Tour Dates

  • Fri, 2010-11-12 Los Angeles, CA Troubadour
  • Sat, 2010-11-13 San Franscisco, CA Great American Music Hall
  • Mon, 2010-11-15 Eugene, OR W.O.W. Hall
  • Wed, 2010-11-17 Portland, OR Aladdin Theater
  • Fri, 2010-11-19 Seattle, WA Triple Door
  • Sat, 2010-11-20 Seattle, WA Triple Door
  • Sun, 2010-11-21 Seattle, WA Triple Door
  • Fri, 2010-12-03 Marion, OH Palace Theatre
  • Sat, 2010-12-04 Kent, OH Kent Stage
  • Sun, 2010-12-05 Ann Arbor, MI The Ark
  • Tue, 2010-12-07 Columbus, OH Lincoln Theatre
  • Fri, 2010-12-10 Louisville, KY Bomhard Theater
  • Sat, 2010-12-11 Chicago, IL Old Town School of Folk Music 7pm & 10pm
  • Fri, 2010-12-17 Cincinnati, OH THE LONG SURRENDER PREMIERE @ the Jarson-Kaplan Theatre (in the Aronoff Center)
  • Sat, 2010-12-18 Cincinnati, OH Taft Theatre
  • Sun, 2010-12-19 Norwood, OH St. Elizabeth’s
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