Dave Douglas on WNYU’s The Phoenix today

Posted by: Dave Douglas on April 18, 2013 @ 4:23 pm
Filed under: Dave Douglas (Artist Thoughts), Dave Douglas (News), Listening

Screen shot 2013-04-18 at 4.19.48 PM

I had a blast talking with Brandon Peckman at WNYU today. Stream our conversation by clicking the image above. Lots of music from different albums and periods of my work. Enjoy!

“Witness” GPS, Vol. 3: Bad Mango (Greenleaf Music) MP3 2011
“A SIngle Sky” A Single Sky (Greenleaf Music) MP3 2009
“Beware of Doug” Time Travel (Greenleaf Music) MP3 2013
“Red Emma” The Tiny Bell Trio (Songlines Recordings) MP3 1994
“Forward Flight” In Our Lifetime (New World) MP3 1995
“Millennium Bug” Magic Triangle / Leap of Faith (Greenleaf Music) MP3 2012
“Meaning and Mystery” Live at the Jazz Standard (Greenleaf Music) MP3 2007
“Flood Plain” Moonshine (Greenleaf Music) MP3 2007
“A Thousand Evenings” A Thousand Evenings (RCA) MP3 2000
“Be Still My Soul” Be Still (Greenleaf Music) MP3 2012
“Garden State” Time Travel (Greenleaf Music) CD 2013

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Two videos: Dave Douglas Quintet with Aoife O’Donovan in Milan

Posted by: admin on April 4, 2013 @ 2:04 pm
Filed under: Dave Douglas (Updates), Events, Listening, Video

Dave Douglas Quintet performing at Aperitivo in Concerto in Milano Italy, March 3, 2013

Dave Douglas, trumpet
Walter Smith III, tenor saxophone
Matt Mitchell, piano
Linda Oh, bass
Rudy Royston, drums

“One Morning” (Gillian Welch cover)

“Garden State”

Get the album version of Garden State for free here.

Dave Douglas events this week

APR 04 — University of Wyoming-Laramie
APR 05 — University of Colorado-Boulder
APR 08 — The Blue Room / Kansas City
APR 09 — University of Central Oklahoma
APR 11-12 — Dazzle Jazz / Denver*

*with Aoife O’Donovan

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Talking Talkhouse: Further thoughts on Wayne Shorter’s “Without A Net”

Posted by: Dave Douglas on April 2, 2013 @ 5:18 am
Filed under: Dave Douglas (Artist Thoughts), Listening


Dave’s review of “Without A Net” can be read at TheTalkhouse.com.

Thrilled the other night at Jazz Standard to see keyboardist Jim Beard! I heard him in several different Wayne Shorter groups around the time I moved to New York, between 1984 and 1989 or so. Beard played all of the Atlantis material with Shorter, as well as playing on the album Phantom Navigator and in subsequent live performances. Since writing about Shorter’s new work for The Talkhouse, I have had several interesting conversations about it, and Jim Beard had some observations that hadn’t occurred to me.

We talked about the contrast between Shorter’s meticulously crafted scores and the freedom with which his current quartet plays. The music I used to hear Beard play in those bands was so complicated, and they played it note perfect! Incredible harmonies and gnarly bass lines, all written out with crossed t’s and dotted i’s on every page of the beautiful handwritten scores, almost like a graphic novel or super hero comic book.

The contrast between that precise notation and the freely improvised approach of the current band is stunning. You would almost think it was a different musician, so different is the attitude. And yet, Shorter pulls it off and makes it make as much sense as music can make.

The beautiful and precise scores still inhabit Shorter’s writing, it’s just that his intention in performing it with this quartet is not tethered to any specific rendition of what is on the page. You could say it’s an about face. Or you could say it’s a radical reinvention of what it means to notate and perform music. You could also go back to Shorter’s earlier work and wonder if all of this was already lurking in the pages when it was created.

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Time Travel Made Possible Through Music

Posted by: Dave Douglas on March 28, 2013 @ 10:26 am
Filed under: Dave Douglas (Artist Thoughts), Listening

The shows at Jazz Standard are filling up for this week — please call to reserve your tickets now. We encourage you to go for the late shows that tend to be more available at this point. -GLM HQ

“To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable.”
— Aaron Copland

Jim asked me to pick 5 recordings to share on the occasion of my 50th birthday. Difficult to do as compositions are like children — how would you pick your favorite? Also like children, they grow and change over time. I would certainly play all of these pieces differently today. Recorded music is an excellent document of a moment in time, but even this fixed medium changes as we perceive things differently. The exhilarating thing about playing music is that as you play you have absolute freedom in time. Move forward, move back, the more the merrier.

Out In The Cold from In Our Lifetime — This was a tribute to the recently launched Hubble Space Telescope. Imagining it out there in orbit, seeing farther out and farther back in time than anyone ever has. Still hearing James Genus and Joey Baron’s hook up on bass and drums so popping on this take.

Constellations from Constellations — Tiny Bell Trio with Jim Black and Brad Shepik. We recorded this in the middle of a European tour and at the time I had begun studying with Laurie Frink. She deserves a lot of credit for my playing on this one! (Sorry, Laurie).

Spring Ahead from Stargazer — This tune is kind of a cross between Lester Leaps In and Coltrane’s 26-2. It was fun and challenging playing this with the sextet, Chris Speed, Josh Roseman, Uri Caine, James Genus, Joey Baron. Epic recording day because of storms and re-schedulings that year. Thanks to Joe Marciano at Systems Two for making it happen! Planning to re-release this record on Greenleaf next year.

Charms Of The Night Sky — Thanks to Guy Klucevsek, Mark Feldman, and Greg Cohen for bringing such subtle and powerful emotion to this piece. Also thanks to Joe Ferla for again capturing the sound with such warmth and feeling.

The Infinite — Adding the dynamic, explosive Clarence Penn to the band and bringing in the fender rhodes was a big inspiration for me! This record was also a chance to consider all the gifts we received from one of my biggest musical heroes, Miles Davis. Great to play with Chris Potter, Uri Caine, James Genus, Clarence Penn.

Be Still My Soul and Time Travel — from my two most recent releases. With Aoife O’Donovan, Jon Irabagon, Matt Mitchell, Linda Oh, and Rudy Royston. I look forward to playing with them this week at Jazz Standard! Come down if you can.

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Garden State – Live, in-studio performance by Dave Douglas Quintet from the album Time Travel

Posted by: admin on March 13, 2013 @ 12:03 pm
Filed under: Dave Douglas (News), Greenleaf (News), Greenleaf Music News, Listening, Releases, Video

From the forthcoming album Time Travel, available for preorder at iTunes. This video premiered on Tuesday at JazzTimes.

Recorded & mixed by Joe Ferla at Avatar Studios, April 2012 at the same sessions that yielded the album Be Still [2012] which Stereophile called “one of the best sounding records we’ve heard by any one in quite awhile.” This all-instrumental album features Dave’s new Quintet with Jon Irabagon on tenor saxophone, Matt Mitchell on piano, Linda Oh on bass, and Rudy Royston on drums.

CD preorder coming soon to Dave’s Bandcamp.

Preorder now available!

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Dave Douglas Quintet “Time Travel” advance look

Posted by: admin on March 7, 2013 @ 10:32 am
Filed under: Dave Douglas (News), Greenleaf (News), Listening, Video

Watch a 60-second advance bit of video from the forthcoming album “Time Travel” by Dave Douglas featuring Jon Irabagon, Matt Mitchell, Linda Oh, and Rudy Royston.

Album: Time Travel
Audio: “Law Of Historical Memory”
Release Date: April 9th, 2013
Label: Greenleaf Music
Recorded & Mixed by Joe Ferla
Film by Christoph Green

More videos coming soon.

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Be Still Book Announced.

Posted by: admin on February 6, 2013 @ 4:32 pm
Filed under: Dave Douglas (Artist Thoughts), Education, Listening, Video

Very happy to make the new book available. It has lyrics as well as clearly detailed voicings and arrangements. It’s a nice complement to the other sheet music in the shop, which you can find here.

I had a few questions for Dave as we proofed the Be Still Book. A brief discussion ensued. Warning: this gets really muso nerdy.


JT: Such a cool chord sequence on Be Still My Soul. Love reading through these charts with my axe.

DD: Thanks! Felt like I hit on something there. Originally there was no repeat around the bar of Ab7. Adding it made the whole chart come together.

JT: Yeah, a nice little breath. That bassline just sounds so weird on it’s own. Speaking of, first bar you note a Cmaj7#5 but the middle voice of that chord goes to an A natural. Typo? Or just over my head? Sounds cool on guitar anyway.

DD: Aha! Love it.

OK so the natural 6 on a maj7#5 chord creates a half step (between the raised fifth and the natural sixth). But it sounds ambiguous and bittersweet (in my opinion) because it can remind you of an Aminmaj7 chord. But yes, the natural sixth on that chord is kosher in my opinion.

Also the fact that the tonic chord of the tune is E major adds to the ambiguity, Cmaj toggling between the function of #5 and b6 in the key of E.

I like the movement from the G#7 — you think it’s going to go to C#min. But it goes to C#min with an E in the bass. So you get a triple confusion because of the tonal function: Not only are you deceived into a false resolution, you also tricked your ear into hearing the tonic note (E) as an inversion of the natural 6th degree minor chord. Also, you have been hearing up until now the flatted 6th degree of the scale (as in Cmaj7#5) so you’re basically hearing a triple deception by suddenly getting the natural sixth. Also that at the same moment the melody goes back towards E major, the bass finally hits an open low E, and the progression from that point moves back up to the b6. That’s why I cry right there. Don’t know about you. Dig?

Hey I wrote all that while Finley was trying to get me to play with her new toy squirrel. Anyway. Enjoy it. Thanks for asking.

While that wasn’t completely over my head, I had to reread that paragraph a few times in front of the piano. Pick up a copy of the digital or printed book and play the chart to find your own sequence to nerd out with.

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Harmful Music

Posted by: Dave Douglas on January 29, 2013 @ 6:53 pm
Filed under: Dave Douglas (Artist Thoughts), Listening

Interested in your thoughts on this. Subjective input on whether music can be too powerfully influential is welcome. Is there a record or records you think have the effect of changing artists to a degree that may be detrimental?

I got on this train when I heard an interview some time ago with an author who listed the “Ten Most Harmful Novelists for Aspiring Writers.” It was Crawford Kilian, a Canadian contributor to the blog, The Tyee, who suggested we simply withhold these works from young authors to protect them from negative influence.

Read Ten Most Harmful Novelists for Aspiring Writers at The Tyee

Why am I writing about this? Because at the time I remember wondering if there would be a corollary in music. Are there recordings or compositions that, because of their power to influence, you recommend young musicians avoid? Records I maybe wish I hadn’t heard because I was never again able to play the same? A conversation with a friend re-triggered the idea.

OK first of all it’s a silly idea. I get it! None of my friends would comment on the record (no pun intended)! Maybe you will. But that’s another issue. You can’t blame the masters for their imitators. But I decided not to scrap this post because I know some folks will chime in. You may do so anonymously (if you prefer) by writing to the Greenleaf Help Desk.

Kilian says some novels are so powerful that aspiring writers are pulled into their orbit, corrupted by unavoidable influence. “[These books] are often well-written, but their effects have generally been disastrous: they inspired younger writers to imitate them, they created awful new genres that debased readers’ tastes, or they promoted literary or social values that we could very much do without.”

The list contains books by Ayn Rand, J.D. Salinger, Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, William Golding and it’s true that most folks read these in high school and were affected. He identifies traits we see in writing today (that he abhors), and blames it on Catcher In The Rye, Atlas Shrugged, and On The Road.

Does Kilian really mean they should be verboten? I don’t think so. But influence is something I hear in music a lot. Sometimes I hear it as an avoidance rather than an emulation, i.e., players trying, often to negative effect, not to sound like something or someone. Maybe that is even stronger evidence for the influence problem in music.

Here are some records that changed me. I wonder how different a musician I would be if I hadn’t heard them. I recommend them enthusiastically! But maybe I agree that young listeners should beware their pull…

Miles Davis, In A Silent Way

Don’t even remember how I got it. Listened to it five million times. Can’t play the same way over a vamp in F. Can still sing every note, still go to that church. It’s a masterpiece, but did it profoundly affect countless musicians? Undoubtedly.

Weather Report, Heavy Weather

Just a couple months ago I was in a car with a bunch of musicians and we spontaneously sang together, from memory, Jaco Pastorius’ Teen Town. What a moment of recognition: this was a piece we had all unconsciously internalized! Likewise, A Remark You Made is possibly the most powerful instrumental ballad of the era. There’s a perfection to the production on this record that can be dangerous to attempt in an improvised context. It raised the bar, but it also changed the game for a lot of people.

Woody Shaw, Woody III

Wanted to have a band because of this record. It’s the way they played the arrangements together that most affected me. It felt like a community, with Mr. Shaw’s brilliant musical mind at the helm. There is a spontaneity to the playing here, but it sounds so effortless (I think) because it was a band on the road and at the same time a new imagination of ow a band works that Woody Shaw had the vision to bring into being. Maybe some of the hard work behind putting it together was something I was not as aware of when I listened so obsessively.

I could go on. But I’m really curious what others would say. Which recording or composition do you think has this kind of influence and do you think there is something to NOT hearing them? Which records do you wish you’d heard later? Or earlier?

Be Civil.


The Greenleaf Sampler 2012

Posted by: admin on October 31, 2012 @ 4:42 pm
Filed under: Dave Douglas (News), Donny McCaslin (News), Greenleaf (News), Greenleaf Music News, Listening


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Playlist: Dave Douglas at Dusted

Posted by: admin on October 12, 2012 @ 4:41 pm
Filed under: Dave Douglas (Artist Thoughts), Listening

Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists determined by our favorite artists. This week: Trumpet master Dave Douglas.

1. Joni Mitchell – Mingus

I was a child of the 1970s who read the players’ names on the backs of albums. Wayne Shorter was the link for me between Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Weather Report, Milton Nascimento, Herbie Hancock, and um, what’s his name…. oh yeah, Miles Davis. This record is such a classic… Brings together Jaco Pastorius, Herbie, Peter Erskine, Wayne, and of course Joni Mitchell with deep words and music. Great horn charts to boot. Seminal. If you haven’t heard this, or haven’t listened in a while, it’s good medicine. Joni’s delivery of the songs is so pure and direct, and the subject matter personal.


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