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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

Jason Ludwig’s 2 new albums / Dave Douglas boxset

20th Oct 11 (Thu) Leave a comment

This fall is turning into a flippin’ brilliant season for new music… My Brightest Diamond, Wussy, and Puscifer… all gems.  Now some more…

Cincinnati-based singer-songwriter Jason Ludwig (formerly of Noctaluca) released two new albums last Friday.  I’ve spent a few days with them, and I LOVE-love-LOVE them.  I can’t say which one, Lost in Love or Tanglings, that I like more – but they’re both vying for a spot on my Best Albums of 2011 List.  They’re only available as a digital download (mp3 or FLAC) via Jason’s bandcamp page, but the awesome part… they’re only $5 each.

 

Go to jasonludwig.com for samples and then buy them.  Well-produced, well-arranged, creative singer-songwriter that reminds me of a cross between the pop of Glen Hansard (of the Swell Season and the Frames) and the creative of Daniel Johns (of Silverchair).  If you don’t like them, I’d be surprised.

More new music news…

My favorite living trumpet-player/composer, Dave Douglas, started a new digital download music series this year on his record label, Greenleaf Music, called GPS (Greenleaf Portable Series).  Greenleaf recently launched a cloud player with their entire catalog, they’re putting out an iPad/iPhone App, and they just announced that they’re going to put out the three GPS releases thus far (Rare Metals, Orange Afternoons, Bad Mango) as an extremely limited 3-CD boxset called Three Views.

More info coming soon from Greenleaf, but it’s expected before year’s end.

~Dan – np: My Brightest DiamondAll Things Will Unwind

Dave Douglas & So Percussion – Bad Mango [new jazz]

9th Sep 11 (Fri) Leave a comment

New “Greenleaf Portable Series” release from Dave Douglas & So PercussionGPS Vol 3: Bad Mango:



The digital album comes out October 11th, 2011, on Greenleaf Music on mp3/FLAC.

~Dan – np: TeslaFive Man Acoustical Jam

Dave Douglas’ Brass Ecstasy & news from Camp Greenleaf

23rd Jun 11 (Thu) Leave a comment

News from trumpeter Dave Douglas’ label Greenleaf Music the other day.  All this from the GM mailing list…

Late last week, we transitioned to our new website that’s been in development for over a year. Come over for a visit to spend time with some great new features including faster load times, a new store with easier checkout, up-to-the minute news on all of our artists (present and past). And in the upcoming weeks, we will be rolling out a site optimized for mobile devices, a new app for the iPhone / iPad, and possibly what we’re most excited about, the Greenleaf Cloud–a streaming of our entire catalogue in a nifty player that you can access anywhere.

also, out now, the first in the Greenleaf Portable Series (GPS)…

Harkening back to the way jazz records used to be made, these are informal sessions that yield shorter album lengths but with the immediacy of the digital music age. Volume one in this digital-only series, Rare Metals, spotlights Brass Ecstasy, recording five new compositions and the first new released material since Spirit Moves, plus a smoking arrangement of the Billy Strayhorn classic, “Lush Life,” that sent chills through the folks that run the Village Vanguard.

And for a taste of the new music, this track is available for free download. We hope you enjoy it and choose to support the series by purchasing the full album–can’t beat the $5 price tag.

GPS Vol 2 with Ravi Coltrane, Vijay Iyer, Linda Oh, and Marcus Gilmore will follow late next month.

Yay!  Any day with news about new Dave Douglas music is a good day for me.

~Dan – np: Jamie SaftBlack Shabbis

Dave Douglas – United Front (April 5th)

25th Feb 11 (Fri) Leave a comment

A glimpse of the new Dave Douglas release just popped up on Greenleaf Music’s blog

United Front: Brass Ecstasy at Newport comes out April 5th, 2011.  Stay tuned here or at Greenleaf Music for details as they emerge.

~Dan – np: Palo AltoPalo Alto

Dave Douglas – Spark of Being making of video

7th Oct 10 (Thu) 2 comments

Check out the “making of” feature for Dave DouglasSpark of Being

And, if you’re lucky, they have a handful of dates…

October 7th, 2010
Spark Of Being in MN:
preview in CityPages
Event screens at 8:00 @ Walker Art Center [tickets] [map]

October 8th, 2010
Spark Of Being in KC: preview in Kansas City Star
Event begins at 8:30PM @the Blue Room [tickets] [map]

October 24th, 2010
Spark Of Being in NYC
Event screens at 8:00 PM @ the Highline Ballroom [tickets] [map]

~Dan – np: The Weepies Be My Thrill

Dave Douglas on vinyl

23rd Jul 10 (Fri) 2 comments

So, Expand from Dave Douglas & Keystone – the second in the Spark of Being trilogy – is now up for pre-orderSpark of Being is Dave’s recent collaboration with experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison (read more here).  As a cool option, it’s going to be made available on vinyl – a first for Greenleaf Music.

I’ve got mine on pre-order… boxset and now vinyl.  Oh, and once pre-ordered… you get to download it, even though its release date is August 24th.

~Dan – np: Dave Douglas & KeystoneSpark of Being: Expand

Dave Douglas & Keystone’s Spark of Being

21st May 10 (Fri) 1 comment

The latest music from Dave Douglas & Keystone is a three-part release.

Part 1: SOUNDTRACK (out June 22nd)
Part 2: EXPAND (out August 24th)
Part 3: BURST (out September 21st)

All three releases were inspired by Douglas’ recent collaboration with experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison on the new multi-media project Spark of Being, and were written by Douglas for his electric sextet Keystone. The first release, to the aforementioned film, will be available exclusively through Greenleaf Music on June 22. Two additional releases, Expand and Burst, will follow later this year and feature Douglas and Keystone exploring and interpreting the themes of the film.

Spark of Being, which premiered on April 24 at Stanford University’s Lively Arts, combines a re-interpretation of the Frankenstein story featuring new, archival and distressed footage on film by experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison with an original score by Douglas. Spark of Being was commissioned by Stanford Lively Arts as the centerpiece of a campus-wide “Art + Invention” project throughout the 2009–10 season, and was also the culmination of a multi-stage residency at Stanford by Douglas and Morrison.

Expand is a fully realized new jazz album by Douglas and Keystone. It will be released by Greenleaf Music and distributed through traditional music channels on August 24. Greenleaf will follow with the release of Burst on September 21, which, like Expand, further develops the musical ideas of Spark of Being, without the parameters of a soundtrack composition. All three albums will also be available in a full box set on September 21.

Spark of Being began its life as a meditation on humanity and technology,” said Douglas. “Through the lens of contemporary music and film, Bill Morrison and I were both interested in a collaboration that showed the various uses for invention, from the quirky to the profound, from the benign to the murderous.”

Greenleaf Music rolled this out as part of their newly expanded subscription series.  The new subscription service offers expansions to their levels… newly included are subscriber-only podcasts, full streaming of the ENTIRE Greenleaf catalog, complimentary tickets to a Greenleaf artist’s show, meet & greet opportunities, et cetera.  My subscription was expiring anyway; so it was a great time to re-up. :)

~Dan – np: Maery LanahanLessen

Dave Douglas & Keystone – Spark of Being

11th May 10 (Tue) Leave a comment

From the Greenleaf Music blog

Spark Of Being: Soundtrack

Dave Douglas: “Keystone and I have finished our new recording and it will be released very soon. Here is the cover of the first album in the trilogy of CDs and we’re all really excited about the collaboration with filmmaker Bill Morrison on Spark of Being. ‘Soundtrack’ is the first release of three — it’s the music from the actual film. We’ve documented much more than that, with two CDs of Keystone recordings from the sessions in Stanford.

We’ll be making a big push for this first release as well as for the three CD set and new subscription podcasts and conversations.

I think you’ll enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it.”

Sweeeet… more news will be posted when I hear the word…

~Dan – np: Holy FuckLatin

PDX Jazz Fest :: Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy

16th Feb 10 (Tue) Leave a comment

Well, the PDX Jazzfest in Portland, Oregon, is only 1 week away.  You won’t want to miss it.  There are many fantastic local and national acts, including these great headliners:

Thursday, February 25 – Luciana Souza
Friday, February 26 – Mingus Big Band
Saturday, February 27 (3pm) – Trygve Seim & Frode Haltli
Saturday, February 27 (7:30) – Dave Holland Quintet
Sunday, February 28 (3pm) – Pharoah Sanders
Sunday, February 28 (7:30) – Dave Douglas Brass Ecstasy

As we lead up to the event, I’ll focus on one of the headliners a week… last up Dave Douglas and his horny band Brass Ecstasy.  I’ll be going to this show, which caps the PDX Jazz Fest.  I got into Dave Douglas via John Zorn’s Masada.  I’ve since gotten into Dave’s other bands: Tiny Bell Trio, Keystone, DD Quartet, DD Quintet, SF Jazz Collective, Second Sight, New & Used, Mosiac Sextet, Orange Then Blue, A Single Sky… tons of releases over 20+ years.

His Brass Ecstasy band released their debut recording, Spirit Moves, in 2009 – which features Dave joined by Vincent Chancey on french horn, Luis Bonilla on trombone, Marcus Rojas on tuba, and Nasheet Waits on drums and releases on Greenleaf Music.

Two-time Grammy-nominated jazz musician Dave Douglas is arguably the most prolific and original trumpeter & composer of his generation. From his New York base, where he’s lived since the mid 1980s, Douglas has continued to earn lavish national and international acclaim including trumpeter, composer, and jazz “Artist of the Year” by such organizations as the New York Jazz Awards, Down Beat, Jazz Times, Jazziz, and the Italian Jazz Critics’ Society. His solo recording career began in 1993 with Parallel Worlds on Soul Note and he has since released over twenty-eight recordings. In 2005, after seven critically-acclaimed albums for Bluebird/RCA, Douglas launched his own record label, Greenleaf Music. The same year, he was honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship. On Greenleaf, Douglas has released albums with his long standing Quintet, the electronic sextet Keystone, and the mixed chamber ensemble Nomad. His latest project, Brass Ecstasy, features a brass quintet of trumpet, french horn, trombone, tuba and drums and will release Spring 2009.

Douglas is currently the artistic director of the Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music at the Banff Center and the co-founder and director of the Festival of New Trumpet Music, which will celebrate its 7th year in 2009.

In addition to leading his own groups, Douglas has an important ongoing musical relationship as a member of John Zorn’s Masada and with artists such as Anthony Braxton, Don Byron, Joe Lovano, Miguel Zenon, Uri Caine, Bill Frisell, Cibo Matto, Mark Dresser, Han Bennink and Misha Mengelberg. As a composer, Douglas has been commissioned by the Trisha Brown Dance Company, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Essen Philharmonie, Library of Congress and Stanford University. Recent large scale works have included Blue Latitudes, for chamber orchestra and 3 improvisers, and Delighted States, for big band with soloists (both unreleased as of press date).

Webpage: http://www.davedouglas.com/

FOR INFO & TICKETS: http://pdxjazz.com/tickets/

~Dan – np: Hotel LightsHotel Lights

Dave Douglas – A Single Sky

2nd Oct 09 (Fri) Leave a comment

I got the SF Jazz Collective‘s Live 2009 CD in the mail the other day. It’s a smokin’ hot remembrance for me of the show they put on at The Shedd in February of this year.  The SF Jazz Collective features Dave Douglas, Joe Lovano, Miguel Zenon, and many more great musicians.  The new SFJC CD set put my Dave Douglas 2009 music count up to 7 ¾ hours… that includes the excellent Brass Ecstasy Spirit Moves CD, the BE: On Stage Live series, the Masada Book Two’s New Masada Quintet (with Joe Lovano) playing Stolas, and the SFJC Live 2009.

Well, yesterday I logged in to my Greenleaf Music Subscriber page (as it’s a new month, and I wanted to see if they had any new treats), and they had some samples of the new Dave Douglas A Single Sky CD.  I checked my email, and “bam!” there’s an email notifying me of pre-order status of the new album – due out October 27th (I must have been sleeping).

It features Jim McNeely and the Frankfurt Radio Bigband.  The collaboration offers three new Douglas compositions alongside four works from the Douglas songbook reimagined by McNeely.  Find out more HERE.

~Dan – np: Dave Douglas – “The Presidents” from A Single Sky

Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert

21st Jul 09 (Tue) Leave a comment

Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy released Spirit Moves earlier this year, and it is fantastic… one of the best releases of the year so far.  It’s out now on Greenleaf Music (Dave’s label).

Well, yesterday (7/20), their recent Tiny Desk Concert (a great feature on NPR) was posted as streaming video and as part of the NPR: Live Concerts from All Songs Considered Podcast.  From the article… Afterward, I heard a colleague who works elsewhere in the building rave, “I don’t know anything about jazz, but that was amazing!” See, the mere mention of jazz may scare off many, but when you see experts performing as ebulliently as these folks did, it’s hard to remain unmoved.

Click for Streaming on NPR’s site

Click the picture or hotlink above for streaming video on NPR’s site, or search for “NPR: Live Concerts from All Songs Considered” podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcatcher.

Setlist (17:54)

  • “Spirit Moves” (Douglas)
  • “This Love Affair” (Wainwright)
  • “Twilight of the Dogs” (Douglas)

Personnel

  • Dave Douglas, trumpet
  • Luis Bonilla, trombone
  • Vincent Chancey, French horn
  • Marcus Rojas, tuba
  • Nasheet Waits, drums

~Dan – np: Jónsi & AlexRiceboy Sleeps

Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy – Spirit Moves

13th Feb 09 (Fri) 1 comment

This from the latest Greenleaf Music email from trumpeter Dave Douglas

My new recording with Brass Ecstasy, to be titled Spirit Moves, is to be released in the coming months. It’s a thrill to be playing alongside these great brass players: Luis Bonilla, Vincent Chancey, and Marcus Rojas. And the great drummer Nasheet Waits. This is kind of a new deal for me and I’m psyched to get out there and play some dates with the band.

Yay… Dave Douglas’ last studio album, Keystone’s Moonshine, was one of my favorite CDs of 2007 (by far).  And his instant live series in 2006 & 2008 were awesomely jam-packed with great music (21+ hours in total, 11+ hours of non-repeating music among the two years).  So, new music from this trumpeter / bandleader is a-OK with me.  I get to see him next month play with the SFJazz Collective; so it’ll be nice to get that Dave Douglas live fix satiated in 2009. :)

http://www.davedouglas.com/
http://www.greenleafmusic.com/

~Dan – np: That1Guy – Let’s Hear That1Guy

Dave Douglas & Keystone – Live at the Jazz Standard

12th Apr 08 (Sat) Leave a comment

Dave Douglas & Keystone (who made one of my favorite CDs last year) is playing two sets each night for four nights at the Jazz Standard in NYC (April 10th to 13th). Sidenote: I went to the Jazz Standard in March of last year (to see Brian Bromberg‘s Upright All-stars when I was out that way on bidness).

Keystone is: Dave Douglas – trumpet, Marcus Strickland – tenor saxophone, Adam Benjamin – Fender Rhodes, Brad Jones – bass, Gene Lake – drums, and DJ Olive – turntables.

Anyway, eight sets of great jazz… and the cool thing is that Dave Douglas’ Greenleaf Music releases each show (of these special engagements) within 24 hours of the end of the set. So far, four sets and only one repeat song, too. Woot! 8 hours of new Dave Douglas coming my way…

OK, now back to studying…

~Dan – np: Dave Douglas & KeystoneLive at the Jazz Standard, 4/10/08 (early set)

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