The second part of trumpeter Dave Douglas Spark Of Being trilogy – this one billed as the "straight" performances of themes composed for filmmaker Bill Morrison's experimental reinterpretation of the Frankenstein story! Expand does work as a solid modern jazz album, with shifting tones, creative sparks and dexterous rhythmic interplay and sharp solos. The textural experimental touches assure that it's a artful step to the left, though, and it's great stuff anyway you want to look at it. Dave's group Keystone is wonderful, featuring DJ Olive on turntables and laptop, bring some lightly tripped out, yet firmly sophisticated atmospherics – plus Marcus Strickland on tenor, Adam Benjamin on Fender Rhodes, Brad Jones on Ampeg baby bass, and Gene Lake on drums. Titles include "Spark Of Being", "Creature", "Tree Ring Circus", "Observer", "Chroma", "Travelogue" and "Prologue". LP, Vinyl record album
Great work from Dave Douglas and his High Risk quartet – a group who definitely step into dark territory here, in a heady blend of electric elements and Dave's bold frontline work on trumpet! The group electric bass, electric drums, and more electronics – plus some acoustic drums – yet somehow manage to come across with a very organic vibe, and one that's quite different than you might expect – especially in comparison to other trumpet-led projects like this, which often have the leader processed and filtered into the mix. Instead, Dave's sound is as rich and warm as ever – never a slave to the backings, and instead right out front ahead of them – blowing with lines that arc and turn beautifully, and remind us what a personal, poetic soloist Douglas can be. Titles include "Celine", "Ridge Hill", "Mission Acropolis", "All The Pretty Horsepower", and "Loom Large". LP, Vinyl record album
A beautiful project from trombonist Ryan Keberle – one that follows his excellent previous work with his Catharsis group, but a set that also uses a vocal group as well – which adds a whole new dimension to the music! The songs have a spiritual power that really lives up to the title – as the core jazz instrumentation blends with the voice of guitarist Camila Meza – who's appeared on other records with Keberle, but seems to really be hitting her stride here – delivering songs with a message that's only amplified by the richness of Ryan's work on trombones and Fender Rhodes, alongside trumpet from Mike Rodriguez, bass from Joerge Roeder, and drums from Eric Doob. Sometimes Meza sings wordlessly, but in a way that still carries a lot of meaning – and other times the larger group really comes through to give her support. The trumpet and trombone have this great way of flowering together, which always seems to hint at new beginnings – and titles include "Become The Water", "Al Otro Lado Del Rio", "Ancient Theory", "Strength", "Mindfulness", and "I Am A Stranger". CD
Darn compelling sounds from alto saxophonist Curtis MacDonald – very hard to describe, but the sort that grab you immediately upon first listen! MacDonald's got a way of tucking his horn right down in the rhythms of the tracks – finding a way to make all instruments involved move on the same groove – but in ways that are hardly a "groove" at all – no funky jazz, no easy harmelodic lines, and instead these complicated shifting patterns – as rich in their forward motion as they are in their tonal color! The approach is extremely beautiful – as warm as it is fresh and modern – and the instrumentation is played by a shifting lineup of piano, tenor, guitars, and percussion – on titles that include "Childhood Sympathy", "Mosaic 1", "The Imagineer", "My Deal", "Somnolence IV", "Second Guessing", and "Community Immunity". CD
Rudy Royston —
303 ... CD Greenleaf, 2014. Used ...
The first album as a leader from drummer Rudy Royston – a player we've enjoyed for years in the company of others, and one who emerges here with a really fresh voice of his own! Rudy's drums are bold, but also have this way of opening up and allowing magical interplay between all the other members of the group – a warm combo that features Jon Irabagon on saxes, Nadja Noordhuis on trumpet, Nir Felder on guitar, Sam Harris on piano, and either Mimi Jones or Yasushi Nakamura on bass. The guitar and piano combo is wonderful – ringing with these compelling chromes, especially on the tracks that feature Jones' wonderfully soulful work on bass. Most tracks are originals by Rudy – furthering the personal voice of the record – and titles include "Mimi Sunrise", "Play On Words", "Miles To Go", "Gangs Of New York", "High & Dry", and "Bownze". CD
Rudy Royston's fast becoming a player to watch – a hell of a drummer when he works in other people's groups, and a growing leader with a bold, fresh vision in jazz! This set's a killer – a non-stop flurry of fantastic, inventive sounds from a trio headed by Royston on drums, with Yasushi Nakamura on bass and the great Jon Irabagon on saxes – really taking advantage of the open space of the record to blow with the brilliance he brings to his best music! There's almost a vibe here that reminds us of the important Sonny Rollins trio sides of the late 50s – but the whole thing is even more freewheeling, with more of a sense of on-the-fly creation – as just the right sounds seem to spin effortlessly from all players involved. Titles include "Rise Of Orion", "Alnitak", "River Styls", "Kolbe War", "Nautical", "Sister Mother Clara", "Dido's Lament", "Make A Smile For Me", and "Man O To". CD
Greg Ward's group here is named 10 Tongues – a great label for an ensemble that's overflowing with individual voices on their instruments – less a big band than a combo that can bring together so many different tones and colors at once! Ward himself is wonderful on alto, but maybe even more impressive as both the leader and composer here – writing in this fresh voice that's extremely positive and uplifting, but without ever resorting to any cloying cliches – and the group seems to respond by playing his music with a sense of joy and discovery at each new twist and turn! Players include Keefe Jackson on baritone and tenor, Tim Haldeman on tenor, Ben LaMar Gay on cornet, Russ Johnson on trumpet, Norman Palm on trombone, Christopher Davis on bass trombone, Jason Roebke on bass, Marcus Evans on drums, and Dennis Luxion on piano – on titles that include "Singular Serenade", "Daybreak", "Grit", "With All Your Sorry Sing A Song Of Jubilation", "Dialogue Of The Black Saint", and "Gather Round The Revolution Is At Hand". CD
Dave Douglas & Frank Woeste —
Dada People ... CD Greenleaf, 2016. New Copy ...
Out Of Stock
One of the most soulful albums in years from trumpeter Dave Douglas – quite a surprise, given that the whole thing is a dedication to the dada movement! There's a very deep sound to the record – thanks in part to tremendous drum work from Clarence Penn, and equally strong bass from Matt Brewer – who set up this chunky bottom of the record that almost feels like it's got roots in some sort of New Orleans heritage, but very abstracted, and taken into the right sort of modern territory for Dave's expressions. The piano work of Frank Woeste is also great – especially when he picks up a bit of Fender Rhodes – and it's maybe his conception of chunky blocks of sound that give the whole album its great spirit. Titles include "Mains Libres", "Oedipe", "Longings & Illusions", "Danger Dancer", and "Noire Et Blanche". CD
Great work from Dave Douglas and his High Risk quartet – a group who definitely step into dark territory here, in a heady blend of electric elements and Dave's bold frontline work on trumpet! The group electric bass, electric drums, and more electronics – plus some acoustic drums – yet somehow manage to come across with a very organic vibe, and one that's quite different than you might expect – especially in comparison to other trumpet-led projects like this, which often have the leader processed and filtered into the mix. Instead, Dave's sound is as rich and warm as ever – never a slave to the backings, and instead right out front ahead of them – blowing with lines that arc and turn beautifully, and remind us what a personal, poetic soloist Douglas can be. Titles include "Celine", "Ridge Hill", "Mission Acropolis", "All The Pretty Horsepower", and "Loom Large". CD
Dave Douglas has always been a hell of a trumpeter, but he's also always been smart enough to realize that he sometimes hits some of his greatest strengths in collaboration – as he does working here with the excellent Riverside quartet! The group's first record was inspired by the music of Jimmy Giuffre – but this time around, they seem to have expanded their vision – working with some tracks by Carla Bley, but also some great work of Dave's, too – in a style that really finds a new space for the trumpet of Douglas, alongside the saxes and clarinet of Chet Doxas, drums of Jim Doxas, and electric bass of Steve Swallow! The legendary Swallow works here in a way that's sometimes subtle, but extremely effective – often creating this gentle pulse around which the horns are free to circulate in space – soaring together, shaping new sounds, and really pulling an amazing performance out of both players. Jim Doxas' drums are equally understated, in a really great way – and titles include "King Korn", "View From A Bird", "Old Country", "Never Mind", "New National Anthem", and "Enormous Tots". CD