Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dave Douglas: Pushing Jazz Forward

Dave Douglas is among the few jazz musicians today who truly pushes the boundaries of the genre. Working almost two decades now as a leader, the trumpeter has crafted radically different albums with each outing. All of which have been excellent. He in no way sounds like his predecessors (Miles, Hubbard, Brown, etc.) but has uniquely stepped into the realm with ease.

He has weaved together tin pan alley, bebop, fusion and avant garde every step of the way. There are many new musicians on the scene today but few are pushing jazz forward. Dave Douglas is one that has and continues to be consistent and reliable on every record.

The following are good starting points if you are interested and very easy to find at record stores and online:

1) Convergence (Soul Note Records): A fairly straight ahead session featuring his best quintet of Mark Feldman (violin), Drew Gress (bass), Erik Friedlander (cello), and Michael Sarin (drums).

2) Soul On Soul (Bluebird/BMG): A tribute to the legendary pianist/composer Mary Lou Williams featuring an all star ensemble which included Joshua Redman, Uri Caine, Joey Baron and more.

3) Freak In (Bluebird/BMG): This you could loosely call Douglas' "Bitches Brew" or "Jack Johnson". It is that fusion of jazz and electronics that you actually want and expect a forward thinking musician to create. A stellar recording.

So if you see these recordings, try them out - you won't be sorry. If you see Dave Douglas coming to your city. Go and take friends.

Until next time.

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