Live at the Jazz Standard Write Up

Posted by: mike on February 1, 2007 @ 11:33 am
Filed under: Greenleaf Music News

Here’s a recent write up on our new Live at the Jazz Standard release that we thought we’d pass along. It’s by the New York based music critic Jim Macnie who writes for the Village Voice, DownBeat Magazine and a number of other influential publications. This appeared on Jim’s subscriber based blog/column, URGE. We especially like the thought that through this release “everybody, for an extended moment, lived in New York City.” This was an unexpected and remarkably rewarding aspect of the project which has been mentioned by quite a few of those who’ve purchased it.

Digi-Dave: The Sheik of Things To Come
by Jim Macnie, URGE

Funny thing about Dave Douglas’ Live at the Jazz Standard, the more you hear, the more you want to hear. That dynamic works out well in the case of the adventurous trumpeter’s latest project: the “album” finds Douglas dropping 79 new tracks into his recorded canon. Well, maybe “dropping” is the wrong word; “uploading” is probably more on target. By now, jazz fans probably know that the New York club was the site for a novel experiment by the bandleader. Scrutinizing the notion that an ensemble is best judged when on stage doing its job, he recorded every note of a six-night stretch and made the music available for purchase, set by set, hours after it was created. Meaning that usually glum jazz fans in Oshkosh were excited by the fact that immediacy — both on the bandstand and in their modem — was on their side. For an extended moment, everybody lived in New York.

Of course most of the pleasure comes from the fact that Douglas’s Quintet is one of the scene’s most agile and imaginative outfits. Pianist Uri Caine, bassist James Genus, drummer Clarence Penn, and saxophonist Donny McCaslin unite in a loose way, gauging the music’s broad dynamics and tossing each other the kind of provocative ideas that keep the improvisation inventive. With Caine attacking a Fender Rhodes the music has momentary echoes of Miles Davis Fille De Killemanjaro. But Douglas’ tunes are novel. The band performed their entire recorded book — which comes from 2002’s The Infinite and last year’s Meaning and Mystery — and added 14 new pieces to the pile. The covers stretch from Beck to Bjork to Blige, and the boss’s new horn — he’s recently moved to cornet –provides all the lyricism needed. I’ve spent the last month absorbing the way the pieces expand and contract. It’s a blast to hear the band develop from evening to evening. From the poise of “Magic Triangle” to the interplay of “The Sheik of Things To Come,” they’re on point. A label rep says a good percentage of buyers are going for the entire set, which costs $70. Individual sets are $7 apiece. Like Jarrett’s Live at the Blue Note and Miles’ Live at the Plugged Nickel, it’s a compelling portrait of a group in top form. Here’s to Oshkosh getting some more thrills soon. Head to GREENLEAF site to do business.

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