Brazen Heart in the Press

Posted by: russell on October 12, 2015 @ 9:14 am
Filed under: Dave Douglas, Press

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“Brazen Heart” clears a high bar for chemistry.
-Nate Chinen, The New York Times

A few years ago the trumpeter-composer Dave Douglas released “Be Still,” a beautifully poignant album made in response to the loss of his mother. The album also formally unveiled his new band, a young quintet with the creative resources to hit the ground running. “Brazen Heart,” Mr. Douglas’s assured new release, showcases the same group at a more advanced stage in its evolution, as he again tries to transcend grief with art. (read more at NYTimes)



The third album by Dave Douglas’s road-tested new-generation quintet is a fine balance of freedom and control.
-Mike Hobart, The Financial Times



Douglas seeks to give his bandmates maximum freedom within his compositions, so ideas appear and bloom unexpectedly.
-James Hale, Soundstage Network

Looking back over his incredibly prolific 22-year recording career, which has generated close to 40 albums under his leadership, you may find it difficult to remember that trumpeter Dave Douglas was something of a late bloomer. Born in 1963, he was a week away from turning 30 when he went into Sear Sound in midtown Manhattan to record Parallel Worlds, his debut on the Soul Note label. That noted, the New Jersey native was anything but a musical neophyte when he made that recording; he had been honing his sound since he was nine, including almost a decade on New York City’s downtown music scene. (read more at Soundstage Experience)


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Dave Douglas Downbeat Q&A

Posted by: russell on September 17, 2015 @ 2:56 pm
Filed under: Dave Douglas, Press


Taken from Downbeat:

Trumpeter Dave Douglas is one of jazz’s most adventurous minds, leading a stunning array of diverse projects.

In 2015 he’s released two very different CDs: High Risk, a richly textured collaboration with electronica producer Shigeto (aka Zachary Saginaw), and Brazen Heart, the third album by his stellar quintet with saxophonist Jon Irabagon, pianist Matt Mitchell, bassist Linda Oh and drummer Rudy Royston.

That’s in addition to several more accomplishments: celebrating the 10th anniversary of his Greenleaf Music label; hosting a podcast featuring interviews with the likes of Henry Threadgill, John Zorn and Marc Ribot; and directing the annual Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT), which will take place in New York City on Sept. 24–29 and will honor Eddie Henderson.

DownBeat caught up with Douglas via Skype a few days after the quintet performed together for the first time in six months at the Detroit Jazz Festival.

DownBeat: The quintet sounds like it’s really evolved over the last few years.

Dave Douglas: I feel like every time you play it’s an opportunity to grow and find some new areas to play in. With this band in particular, the way everyone plays keeps me on my toes as a composer. It has to do with how you construct the conversation and how people take part in that conversation.

How do you open the door enough for everyone to say what they have to say, and discover and explore what they want to explore, and still have the music retain a shape and have a distinctive voice?

Of course, Miles Davis was the great master of that, but Wayne Shorter is my great guiding star in the music. His views on freedom and his current approach to process in an improvising jazz group are revolutionary in the sense that they throw away a lot of the accepted conventions of the way we normally do things. And that’s an overarching philosophy for him—I think. I don’t want to pretend that I understand Wayne. (read more at

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“Brazen Heart” Featured in NY Times Fall Preview

Posted by: russell on September 9, 2015 @ 7:51 pm
Filed under: Dave Douglas, Press


Take a look at the original here.

DAVE DOUGLAS QUINTET The trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas has released two previous albums (both excellent) with this dynamic quintet, which includes the saxophonist Jon Irabagon, the pianist Matt Mitchell, the drummer Rudy Royston and the bassist Linda Oh. “Brazen Heart” (Oct. 2), dedicated to the memory of Mr. Douglas’s older brother, features nearly a dozen new pieces — like “Lone Wolf,” an intricate wind sprint — tailored to the band’s expressive strengths, which have become clearer and less constrained over several years (and countless miles) on the road. Greenleaf. (N.C.)

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Audiophile Audition Reviews High Risk

Posted by: russell on September 3, 2015 @ 12:42 pm
Filed under: Dave Douglas, Press


Doug Simpson of Audiophile Audition took a deep listen to High Risk and wrote this thoughtful review. Nice to see Steve Wall of Gardentone and Geoff Countryman get their due props here! Check out videos here and here and vinyl LP here.

Dave Douglas – High Risk [TrackList follows] – Greenleaf Music GRE-CD-1042, 40:57 [6/23/15] ****1/2:

(Dave Douglas – trumpet, producer; Jonathan Maron – electric and synth bass; Mark Guiliana – acoustic and electric drums; Shigeto – electronics)


If jazz fans want to keep abreast of the confluence of acoustic jazz and electronics (i.e., electro-acoustic jazz)—the creative nexus where brass, wood, sticks, ivory keys and other acoustic components balance against loops, beats and digital sound—then trumpeter Dave Douglas is one of the artists you should listen to. Douglas is a well-rounded composer, arranger, improviser and performer. One area he continues to find stimulating is the melding of jazz with electronic elements. He’s done some intriguing work related to this sphere on previous releases such as Spark of Being (2010), Moonshine (2008) and Freak In (2003). For his latest outing, the 40-minute High Risk, Douglas formed a new quartet with acoustic and electric drummer Mark Guiliana (Douglas and Guiliana first performed together on a project with saxophonist DonnyMcCaslin); electric and synth bassist Jonathan Maron (founding member of acid-jazz group Groove Collective) and Zachary Saginaw aka Shigeto (an electronic music producer). Maron and Douglas initially crossed paths in the ‘90s and Douglas met Shigeto in 2014 when they shared a stage at a multi-genre musical event. From those connections, High Risk was born. High Risk is not just the magic of four musicians in a studio. Recording engineer Geoff Countryman (who has done board work on other Douglas CDs) meticulously captured the acoustic and electronic portions (Douglas did four months of pre-production to prepare for the one-day session). And mixing engineer Steve Wall was an important contributor, since he did four months of detailed post-production. The result is live improvisation fused with integrated sound manipulation, effects, and other digital/audio realizations.

The seven tracks offer a spontaneous and layered interplay between trumpet, bass, drums and electronics. Everything is part of one expressive experience. The music outwardly modifies and changes, but there is an overall flow and continuity, despite fluctuating constituents. The opener, “Molten Sunset,” commences with Maron’s slowly pulsing bass, Guiliana’s shadowy percussion, and Douglas’ iridescent trumpet. Shigeto’s shimmering electronics traverse as a foundation, with ambient samples, organized sounds and improvised groove. The 7:32 piece has an attribute of mystery amid a fractured funk template. “Molten Sunset” is both edgy and carries a skewed calmness. (read more)

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HIGH RISK Review: Detroit Music Magazine

Posted by: russell on July 13, 2015 @ 7:27 pm
Filed under: Dave Douglas, Press


Originally posted at Detroit Music Magazine by Khalid

You can’t really talk about trumpeter Dave Douglas’ latest release – the self-titled debut of High Risk – for very long before a couple key points inevitably get raised. Foremost among these talking points is that the quartet from which the album takes its name is really the brainchild of both Dave Douglas and one Zach Saginaw, better known as Shigeto, an Ann Arbor-born experimental electronic music producer and left-field hip-hop drummer. The two met for the first time last year at a Red Bull Music Academy event that paired together musicians for improvisation work, and from there they continued a collaborative relationship.

This isn’t the first time Douglas has worked with an artist outside the traditional realm of jazz – that list includes electronic musicians like Yuka Honda, Ikue Mori, Jamie Saft, and DJ Olive. Still, these artists’ contributions to Douglas’ output almost felt ancillary and not quite integrated into the whole, with their role falling into that of providing sonic color or manipulating existing qualities in the music.

That’s not the case on Douglas’ new collaboration, High Risk, which balances traditional instrumentation with electronic textures. The eponymous quartet – rounded out by drummer Mark Guiliana and bassist Jonathan Maron – operate as a cohesive unit without losing their individuality. You can partially credit this to Douglas’ extensive experience both as a bandleader and as a member of multiple ensembles. But you can also sense a genuine appreciation on Shigeto’s part for jazz performance’s unique hurdles: from dealing with real-time harmonic changes to juggling improvisational flow in a group context.

Over High Risk’s seven tracks, the quartet make reference to a number of seminal fusion jazz icons’ works – from Miles Davis’ and Weather Report’s first electrified recordings to Herbie Hancock’s embrace of funk and electro, from Jon Hassell’s forays into world music to Tortoise and The Sea & Cake’s post-rock flirtations, all the way through to FlyLo’s jazz-inflected electronic odes to his aunt Alice Coltrane – but there’s no mistaking them for anyone else; this sound is singular.

There is a strong chance that many of the people who will pick up High Risk may do so on the basis of one-quarter of the ensemble behind its making. Though that should come as no surprise, especially given jazz’s decline in popularity, albums like this provide hope, as they introduce new listeners to a still-vital genre. Jazz has always played with dance culture, but this is something else. Instead of a rote exercise in electronic experimentation suitable for academia, this is a real feat of musical collaboration that wasn’t made for the conservatory or the club, but rather uncharted territory.

Many exciting developments are happening in the world of contemporary jazz – from Vijay Iyer’s interpretations of popular music to Kamasi Washington’s three-hour opus The Epic – but High Risk is truest to its name. Rather than piggyback on the latest trend to attract fair-weather fans, the album relies on the strengths of its players and their group chemistry to create something new that wows without having to woo. These days, making work like that is the highest risk of all.


Get your copy of High Risk here.

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Praise for High Risk

Posted by: russell on June 29, 2015 @ 5:02 pm
Filed under: Dave Douglas, Dave Douglas (News), Dave Douglas (Updates), Press


HIGH RISK is officially one week old. We appreciate everyone’s support and are shipping out orders as fast as we can. Buy your copy here. Plenty of folks have great things to say about HIGH RISK the album and live performances alike:


I’ve seen Dave Douglas three times in the last few years in Ottawa, each time at the helm of a different band. But only on Friday night did I see Douglas at the beginning of his show, literally jumping on the spot as the music pulsed, seemingly extra excited to get busy and join in with the sounds around him. read more >>>



Among brand-name contemporary jazz musicians, few have embraced change and experimentation like trumpeter Dave Douglas. For years he seemed to form a new group every few months, each with a particular mission or focus—though lately he’s settled down. On this year’s Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival (Blue Note) he flexes the mainstream chops at his core during an excellent set with tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano and the collective Sound Prints (the recording is the latest in a series celebrating the music of saxophonist Wayne Shorter). His most recent project, however, finds him pushing boundaries again. read more >>>



Play it safe? Dave Douglas wouldn’t dream of it.

Artistically, that is. The 52-year-old New Yorker might well be one of those drivers who never lets his gas drop below a quarter-tank, or a diner who always reserves. But with a trumpet in his hands, and a project in his head, Douglas is definitely a risk-taker.

To start somewhere, let’s take his new band and its debut album, to be released next week. Both are called — what else — High Risk. read more >>>



Dave Douglas is a well-established jazz player who has been an active performer since the mid-’80s and who has recorded with a number of influential ensembles, including John Zorn‘s Masada Quartet and his own Balkan music group, Tiny Bell Trio. Zach Saginaw—who records under his middle name, Shigeto—composes lightly psychedelic instrumental hip-hop and has released a number of records via the label Ghostly International. The pair first met last year, via a Red Bull Music Academy event that paired musicians—Nels Cline, Wadada Leo Smith, Petra Haden, among others—in a series of solo and duet improvisations. And while they aren’t necessarily obvious collaborators, the two hit it off. read more >>>



Nels Cline knows a thing or two. Whether the Wilco guitarist and master improviser had any sort of larger plan in mind when he hooked trumpeter Dave Douglas up with electronic musician Zachary Saginaw is up for debate, but what was initially an impromptu pairing has become a full-blown band—and you can hear that band, High Risk, at the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival this weekend. read more >>>



Music via electrodes is nothing new to trumpeter Dave Douglas. He’s blended jazz with electronic music before and the results were about as consistently good as anything else he had recorded. Freak In was especially caustic mix, one that rewarded those who took the plunge and punished those who had not kept up on contemporary jazz (my boss, hearing it come out of my work computer, told me that it wasn’t music). High Risk, Douglas’ collaboration with bassist Jonathan Maron, drummer Mark Guiliana, and electronic musician Shigeto, walks closer to the heels of Douglas’s Keystone project.  read more >>>


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Praise for Rudy Royston’s new album 303

Posted by: jim on February 13, 2014 @ 10:27 am
Filed under: Press, Rudy Royston (news)

Rudy’s album entered the SoundScan Current Jazz Chart yesterday and we couldn’t be more excited for him, and the people who are listening. In case you missed it, below is a list of some of the things that are being said about the record. If you don’t already own it, don’t waste any more time. And look for the record to climb even higher in the coming weeks!

“a first-tier talent”
Nate Chinen, The New York Times


“an ambitious and infectious debut”
Frank Alkyer, DownBeat Magazine


“No single mood, idea or direction dominates on 303, and that’s what’s so refreshing. So many albums tend to be created with tunnel vision, but 303 is more of a panoramic construct.”
Dan Bilawsky,


“‘Mimi Sunrise,’ … is the drummer-as-bandleader statement that shows Royston’s more nuanced touches, revealing his technique as not really a trick of showmanship or virtuosity, but one of limitless possibilities of texture.”
Nate Patrin, Burning


“surprisingly soulful”. . . “303 is a solid debut”
Richard Kamins, Step Tempest


“Rudy Royston steps out swinging with an auspicious debut.”
Brent Black,


“a terrifically energetic bandleading debut”
Nate Chinen, The New York Times


Purchase 303 at:

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Dave Douglas Quintet “Time Travel” on NY Times Best Of 2013 List

Posted by: jim on December 16, 2013 @ 10:22 am
Filed under: Dave Douglas (Updates), Listening, Press


A Mix of Sounds, Generations and Styles

Craig Taborn, Wayne Shorter and Bill Callahan Achieve

By Nate Chinen

6. Dave Douglas Quintet “Time Travel” (Greenleaf) The trumpeter Dave Douglas formed a smart new quintet last year, and along with a beautiful album of hymns, it created this knockabout winner, capitalizing on the diversity of a roster with the saxophonist Jon Irabagon, the pianist Matt Mitchell, the bassist Linda Oh and the drummer Rudy Royston.

Read the full feature

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Before & After with Dave Douglas: ln praise of Woody, Wynton and more (via Jazz Times)

Posted by: jim on November 7, 2013 @ 10:41 am
Filed under: Dave Douglas (News), Press

Dave Douglas sat down with Ashley Kahn / Jazz Times for a Q&A, and blindfold test. Read the full article at JazzTimes.

Dave Douglas by Stefan CramerIn the cool, blustery summer weather that is typical of Finland’s Satakunta province, Dave Douglas’ quintet—Douglas on trumpet, tenor saxophonist Jon Irabagon, pianist Matt Mitchell, bassist Linda Oh and drummer Rudy Royston, with vocalist Heather Masse—played a well-received set at the 2013 Pori Jazz festival in July. The music alternated between a loose-limbed intensity and measured melancholy—the latter in particular on the church melodies taken from Douglas’ 2012 album Be Still (Greenleaf). One of those happy, unplanned musical connections took place when the group performed the title track, sparking a rousing response from the outdoor crowd.

“I got so many questions from people here in Finland about why I played it,” Douglas, 50, explained after the set. “When my mother was very ill she gave me a list of hymns that she wanted me to play at her memorial service, and one of them was ‘Be Still, My Soul.’ It was one of her favorites, played in Protestant churches with English lyrics and a melody composed by [Finnish composer] Jean Sibelius. I don’t think she knew the melody is also called ‘Finlandia,’ but we began to play it and I quickly learned that it’s the national anthem here, more or less. It was a real honor to play it in Finland.”

This Before & After took place in Pori’s Satakunnan Museo immediately after Douglas’ performance and was attended by a variety of local music fans.

Find out how Dave did in the blindfold test.

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Release day for Matt Ulery’s #WakeAnEcho, New tracks streaming

Posted by: jim on July 16, 2013 @ 11:41 am
Filed under: Press, Releases, Video

“This is music of brisk intelligence and an almost off-putting abundance of composure… with frictionless access to great chunks of classical postminimalism, atmospheric indie-rock and harmonically astute post-bop.”
-NY Times


“…an abundantly atmospheric work built on exotic scales, muted instrumental colors and darkly moody expression… revels in unhurried but circuitous melody lines & lush instrumental colors.”
-Chicago Tribune


“…fiery improvisational chops with a measured cool that complements the cinematic, thoroughly composed elements in Ulery’s music. Ulery is already making music unlike anyone else.”
-Chicago Reader


Wake An Echo brims with gorgeous melodies and voluptuous arrangements. Ulery has placed his almost other-worldly compositions into another perfect setting; it hints at a larger orchestra while maintaining a more intimate transparency.”

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