Dave Douglas & Greenleaf in 2011

As we sift through our epically full inboxes and move further and further away from vacation daze, we can’t help but get a little nostalgic for 2011—even as it’s just passed. There was a new website, a new music series, new artists, new albums… it seems everything was NEW last year. So before we can move on to all the goings-on we have scheduled this calendar year, a quick recap of some of the music we released in 2011 is necessary for us in this crazy hit-it-and-forget-it internet world we’ve all grown accustomed to.

Donny McCaslin’s Perpetual Motion

Donny went from a sparse but blazing tenor trio album Recommended Tools [2008] to the large ensemble Declaration album [released on Sunnyside, 2010] all the way to this electric album filled with angular post-bop, blistering polyphonic funk, backbeat-driven R&B, and delicate, ethereal balladry. And we thank him for it. It’s partly due to this music that the Key Motion Quintet came to be—but we’ll get to that.

Curtis Macdonald’s Community Immunity

Curtis’ debut album sounds more like his fourth or fifth. The depth of the compositions and the blowing from everyone on board sold us the second we heard it. As Dave put it early on: “The pieces on this recording are like little puzzles with moving parts that fit together in the strangest ways.” If you didn’t pick this album up, you should, because it burns from start to finish.

Greenleaf Portable Series, Cloud Player

As everyone knows, we like to take on at least one bigger project every year, and this was our 2011. And really, what better way to allow Dave to be his compositore prolificano than to record three disparate groups providing the vehicle for his new music. We’re glad that you agreed and supported the series, both as the digital albums, and in the Three Views box set. We hope to do another batch of GPS’s this year, so stay tuned.

All of that music, and all our music from the past 7 years of operation are housed at our new Cloud Player. Subscribers can access it all for a nominal annual fee. It’s our way of saying that catalog isn’t dead, at least ours. We’ll be making updates including First Listen’s to new albums regularly. Consider joining our community by subscribing.

Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy, GPS1: Rare Metals

The first of three. New compositions for a band that made it’s recording debut not too long ago—three years might be a long time, but for us, this group is still fresh.

Orange Afternoons Quintet, GPS2: Orange Afternoons

Dave with Ravi Coltrane, Vijay Iyer, Linda Oh, and Marcus Gilmore. ’nuff said.

Dave Douglas & So Percussion, GPS3: Bad Mango

This is the one that we were most excited about hearing around the office when we first heard of the possibility. “What would it be like?,” we thought. Well, it sounded like nothing we’d heard out of Dave before, in the best and most exciting way possible. The tunes Dave chose for this ensemble were perfectly matched, some spacey and floating dripping with tinkerings, some unabashedly sharp and driving.

GPS at Jazz Standard

Lucky folks in NYC continue to get lucky around the holidays. It seems every year Dave pulls a rabbit out of his hat and throws a shindig at somewhere in town to celebrate the year. 2011 was no different with Dave bringing in not only the three ensembles chronicling the GPS releases, but also a new band co-led by Donny McCaslin called Key Motion. Expect to hear more from that band, and all these shows in the coming months.

Three Views for charity

A special thanks to all those who got involved in the charity drive we put on at the end of the year. Thanks to you, we were able to contribute more that we hoped to the charities we listed and that you suggested. We hope the 17-player autographed copy of the Three Views box finds a nice place on your mantle or CD rack—you deserve it. We hope we can do something similar next year. Again, thanks for your generosity.

What else?

I’m sure I’m forgetting to write a bunch of things—music or otherwise—that Dave Douglas & Greenleaf were a part of in 2011. But maybe that’s a good thing. As Dylan said, “Don’t Look Back.” We don’t want to push the past too hard, just remind you of it in all it’s glory. And now that we’ve reminded you, onwards and upwards to 2012. Expect good things.

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