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Metamorphosis | Cassiopeia

posted by Dave Douglas on March 3, 2017 @ 10:25 am
filed under: Dave DouglasSubscriber Downloads

Cassiopeia is the Queen banished to the night sky as punishment for her vanity. She speeds around the sky off-kilter, clinging to her throne so as not to fall off. Matt Mitchell’s modular synth sets the shape of this performance, limning the angular shape and off-kilter feeling of Cassiopeia. He is joined by Kris Davis on prepared piano and Andrew Cyrille mostly on mallets. Wadada Leo Smith soon joins them on harmon-muted trumpet, providing intervallic shapes in contrast to the electronic and percussive textures. Pure of tone, Wadada plays one of the most direct, poignant solos I’ve heard, drifting off into nothingness at the end.

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Metamorphosis | Boötes

posted by russell on February 3, 2017 @ 4:55 pm
filed under: Dave DouglasSubscriber Downloads

This month’s recording from Metamorphosis features Dave Douglas in a quartet with Oliver Lake, Fred Frith and Yasushi Nakamura.

Boötes is one of the more mysterious constellations. Known as the herdsman or ox-driver, Boötes was also known in the figure of a winemaker whose vintage was so strong as to simply knock people out. It was an inspiration to interpret this myth and the star formation alongside these three great musicians. We started out at a sprint on this track, and as it goes along it settles into a quite beautiful and mysterious harmonic territory. Fred Frith, through tuning and retuning the guitar in mid-performance, creates a gliding underpinning to the whole thing. Oliver Lake’s deep tone penetrates straight through the texture of the four instruments. Yasushi Nakamura has that supple, rich acoustic tone that provides a context for the whole group. This is a quartet I look forward to rediscovering and following deeper in future performances.

If you are a subscriber, stream or download below. If you are not a Subscriber, or you don’t know about the Subscriber Series, click here to learn more.

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Metamorphosis | Andromeda

posted by russell on January 12, 2017 @ 9:39 am
filed under: Dave DouglasSubscriber Downloads

Welcome back, subscribers. You’re getting a first and exclusive look at this take of Andromeda, the first piece in the suite Metamorphosis that I produced in December for your 2017 Subscription Series. It was such an honor to get to call some of my heroes for the recording of this composed/improvised music. Throughout 2017 there will be tracks — many of them quartets made up of various subgroupings — from Metamorphosis on this feed. There is also a live premiere at Lincoln Center March 3 & 4, 2017. I am very grateful for these opportunities to present improvised music with these masters.

Dave Douglas, Wadada Leo Smith, trumpets; Oliver Lake, saxophone; Fred Frith, guitar; Matt Mitchell, modular synth; Kris Davis, piano; Yasushi Nakamura, acoustic bass; Andrew Cyrille, drums.

Recorded and mixed by Tyler McDiarmid at The Samurai Hotel Recording Studio in Queens, NYC. December 5, 2016.

Read Dave’s program notes here.

If you are a subscriber, stream or download below. If you are not a Subscriber, or you don’t know about the Subscriber Series, click here to learn more.

This content is for members only.

Subscriber Series 2017: Metamorphosis

posted by mark on January 12, 2017 @ 9:36 am
filed under: Dave DouglasSubscriber DownloadsSubscriber News

Our Subscriber Series for 2017 is Metamorphosis, a new work by Dave Douglas for improvisors.

In 1997, Douglas released the one-of-a-kind album Sanctuary, a thrilling and unpredictable journey through the improvisation of a double-quartet. Metamorphosis marks a conceptual return to this bold and distinctive project, with Douglas enlisting some of the most unique and flexible voices in modern improvised music: trumpeter and cornet player Wadada Leo Smith, saxophonist Oliver Lake, guitarist Fred Frith, modular synth player Matt Mitchell, pianist Kris Davis, bassist Yasushi Nakamura and drummer Andrew Cyrille. All of these artists are known for their uninhibited approach to improvisation and for being highly responsive team players, two essential traits for a project like this to succeed.

Based on Douglas’ compositional material inspired by the constellations, the December 2016 recording session yielded twelve tracks. You can read Dave’s program notes for details on the material. Some tracks, such as January’s Andromeda, feature the entire ensemble  while others include smaller groupings of four and five musicians in various configurations.

As part of our Subscribers Series, we are releasing a new track each month exclusively for subscribers throughout 2017. Subscribers can download the material for their enjoyment in various file formats. As well, subscribers can listen to the music using the proprietary Greenleaf Cloud Player on our website, which also includes everything that has ever been released on Greenleaf Music as well as additional subscriber-only material.

Please join us as a subscriber to gain access to this unique material and more.

Look for interviews with the artists and other project-related offerings throughout the year.

And don’t miss the debut live performance of this bold new music at the Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center on March 3rd and 4th.

Project details:

Dave Douglas, Wadada Leo Smith, trumpets
Oliver Lake, saxophone
Fred Frith, guitar
Matt Mitchell, modular synth
Kris Davis, piano
Yasushi Nakamura, acoustic bass
Andrew Cyrille, drums

Recorded and mixed by Tyler McDiarmid at The Samurai Hotel Recording Studio in Queens, NYC. December 5, 2016.

Metamorphosis: Program Notes

posted by mark on January 12, 2017 @ 9:35 am
filed under: Dave DouglasSubscriber Downloads

Here are the Dave Douglas program notes for our 2017 Subscribers Series:

Metamorphosis: Stars, Shapes, Stories, Sounds.

Metamorphosis is a piece derived from the shapes of star formations and their associated stories in Greek mythology.

Who knows when humans started defining images among the stars in the night sky? By two thousand years ago, Ptolemy had published a compendium of constellations depicting Greek mythological figures. These mythologies were later laid out in Ovid’s narrative poem, Metamorphosis.

That call from the stars to human imagination seems eternal. Jazz and improvised music are well suited to fashioning sounds from these shapes and stories.

Improvising musicians have so many disparate skills and facets of creativity to work with. An experienced improviser today not only draws on jazz and other improvised music traditions – for over a generation, the training of an improviser has also encompassed sound-making as an individualized area of creativity that transcends style or genre and highlights the specific background and experience of the player. Wadada Leo Smith spoke of this in his seminal essay of 1973, notes (8 pieces) source a new world music: creative music.

Creative music invites each musician, through self-reflection, to define and interpret the music’s direction and to act independently within the parameters of a particular composition. To perform creative music, a musician, guided by their own individualized sonic vocabulary, interprets various kinds of notation and input. This demands creative flexibility and the ability to maintain one’s own personal voice among the interplay of disparate stimuli.

Interpreting star formations and their mythologies, as we do in Metamorphosis, draws on these skills and presents a new dialogue between individual, ensemble, and audience.

In bringing these pieces to the group, I found that each player had their own approach to the stars, shapes and stories. The improvisers in this group have vast experience, and many of them are musicians I consider my heroes. I am grateful that they brought themselves to this music and gave it the fullest life and breath it could have.

Ovid’s declared purpose was “to tell of bodies which have been transformed into shapes of a different kind.” In the same way, our Metamorphosis creates a new template for group improvisation, for the creation of new sound worlds.

Metamorphosis invites each player to invoke their own vision of the stars, the shapes, and the stories with the purest spontaneity and personal expressiveness.

Dave Douglas

Learn more about the Metamorphosis Subscriber Series here.
Metamorphosis will receive its premiere live performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center on March 3 and 4, 2017

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