Rare Metals.

Posted by: Dave Douglas on July 21, 2011 @ 9:05 am
Filed under: Dave Douglas (Artist Thoughts), Greenleaf Portable Series (GPS)

Thanks to those of you who have picked up Rare Metals , Volume 1 from the Greenleaf Portable Series. Also thanks to all who have come out to the European shows going on right now and picking up the special flash drive containing both GPS Vols. 1 & 2.

A lot of Rare Metals was written during my residency at the Aaron Copland House. In particular Safeway, which was written as a response to the political violence in Tucson, Arizona which occurred the day I began my residency. Copland himself was constantly speaking to contemporary events and public engagement in his music, and I felt that influence, as well as some of his musical mannerisms, strongly as I composed.

During that month I also found myself engaged in a study of the music of Duke Ellington and as I rolled his music around in my mind this arrangement of Billy Strayhorn’s Lush Life emerged as something that could be potently voiced in brass. I thank the band also for deftly interpreting the re-arrangement.

Town Hall had been written the previous summer during the Tea Party uprisings of the same name. I went to a few of these meetings myself and saw the extremes of both patriotism and intolerance manifest. We live in interesting times.

Thread was written thinking of one of my musical idols, Henry Threadgill. His systems have always intrigued me and on the reissue of some of his great recordings last year I found myself thinking about his work its impact on current practice.

Night Growl was a chance to feature tubist Marcus Rojas, long the heroic purveyor of the vocalistic growl. Here he gets to work out on an unusual sort of blues. Those who have seen photos of my dog, Finley, should know that the initial inspiration lies therein.

And United Front, which I wrote during a tour with Brass Ecstasy, reflects the cohesive spirit and team play that has come define this band. We have a lot of fun playing this one, though this studio version is quite different than the one you’ll find on the album United Front: Live in Newport. Vive la difference.

Next up: GPS Vol. 2 with Ravi Coltrane, Vijay Iyer, Linda Oh, Marcus Gilmore, and myself.


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Downbeat Critics Poll 2011, Trumpeter of the Year

Posted by: admin on July 5, 2011 @ 4:11 pm
Filed under: Brass Ecstasy, Dave Douglas (News), Indigo Trio (Updates), Nicole Mitchell (Updates), Press

Congrats to Dave for being back on top of the Critics Poll as Trumpeter of the Year.

Kudos to the critics for naming Nicole Mitchell as both the Rising Star and Flutist of the Year.

A high-five to Luis Bonilla and Nasheet Waits (both members of Brass Ecstasy) for being cast as the Rising Star Trombonist and Drummer, respectively.

And a round of applause to all the other winners, list-makers, and critics. You can view the list of winners at the Downbeat website. The full list of finalists will appear in the upcoming issue.

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Wicked Knee, a new brass band

Posted by: admin on March 2, 2011 @ 12:17 pm
Filed under: Listening

We were just hipped to a new all-brass-plus-drums band put together by drummer Billy Martin called Wicked Knee. Of course, we approve of such foray’s in the Brass-ville, especially when we see Brass Ecstasy member Marcus Rojas on the bill.

Looking forward to hearing more from these guys.

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Two new titles for spring

Posted by: admin on February 25, 2011 @ 11:00 am
Filed under: Curtis Macdonald (news), Dave Douglas (News), Greenleaf Music News
Dave Douglas, United Front: Brass Ecstasy at Newport

Curtis Macdonald, Community Immunity

Both titles are releasing April 5th. Preorder coming soon. More news next week.


A Call To Arts

Posted by: Dave Douglas on August 20, 2009 @ 8:13 am
Filed under: Culture, Dave Douglas (Artist Thoughts), Music, Perennials

From the most recent guest post at NPR’s A Blog Supreme.

A Call To Arts
by Dave Douglas

It’s good to see arts and especially jazz philanthropy back in business, thinking about what to fund and how best to fund it and not so much about how to punishing artists who use government money to smear their bodies in chocolate or worrying about just how in particular they plan to use that crucifix. There’s a new director at the National Endowment for the Arts named Rocco Landesman who is more interested in putting on shows; The Doris Duke Foundation and Mary Flagler Cary are out with innovative initiatives; and the alphabets — MTC, CMA, AMC, NYFA, NYSCA — are all looking at ways of giving jazz and related music a place at the table. All I can say is, Thank You. Finally. At long last, we can sit down and have a decent fight over real pieces of the pie.

Helping artists and communities is more important than cracking down on profanity. I was reminded of this the other day when my drummer Nasheet Waits was sent to overweight/oversize baggage for the third time even though his cymbals are no bigger than most bags (smaller than many!) and weighs easily within the range of your average over-packed summer traveler. (I mean their bags.) The cymbals just look different. Nasheet displayed admirable poise, while I was about to explode with the kind of filth that would make Rahm Emanuel blush. It was probably just a better idea to get the cymbals on their way down through the baggage mill.

Arts are important to people’s lives. Vincent Chancey grew up in a foster home, and when his public school gave him a chance to play music he chose the weirdest looking instrument he could find. A French horn man was born, even though there’s nothing French about that horn, and even Congress wanted to change the name to Freedom Horn a few years back. But with just that smallest push, Vincent developed an idiosyncratic personal style on the horn that led to a career with Sun Ra, Lester Bowie and Diana Krall among many others. Now if we could just get him to put the thing down. Vincent’s son Bahij is headed to Yale in the fall, on a scholarship to study architecture.

In 1990 I wasn’t sure where I fit into a scene polarized by young lions, hardcore downtown avant-garde and a livelihood playing weddings, bar mitzvahs, jingles and brisses. That was the year I received an individual artist grant for composition from the National Endowment for the Arts (funding of individual artists was discontinued in 1996). It meant a lot, even if only that there was a societal value to the creative work that I really wanted to do. My musically inclined but somewhat conservative father was scandalized. (“My tax dollars are going to What?!?!”)

Are the arts controversy-free? Clearly my father didn’t think so. No, the arts aren’t all clean, but neither is life itself. Now there’s the Internet, keeping kids aware of all that’s going on around them in the world if you can get them to look away from the screen for more than a few seconds. If these initiatives have their way, when they do look away they will see arts in addition to schoolwork. It’s not safe looking at a computer screen all day, or perhaps being an artist, but there are other dangers out there, like swine flu, sexting, contaminated vegetables, Octomoms, municipal rackets marketing human kidneys, not to mention Town Hall meetings. A little controversial artwork is the least of our worries.



Brass Ecstasy Euro-Tour Video Montage

Posted by: admin on August 19, 2009 @ 1:19 pm
Filed under: Brass Ecstasy, Events, Humor, Music

We were lucky enough to have Geoff Countryman on tour with Brass Ecstasy in Europe this summer. Upon return, we were sent a boatload of clips from each of the bands performances as well as some candid shots of classic on-the-road happenings captured by Mr. Countryman. So we assembled a little montage for your viewing pleasure. As you watch, you will be hearing a track from the On Stage download series we put up last month called “Spirit Moves.”

Also, at the GreenleafMusicHQ YouTube page, we’ve made a new playlist compiling all the Brass Ecstasy videos — the live Tiny Desk Concert, this montage, as well as the in-studio videos from the DVD part of Spirit Moves.


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Brass Ecstasy on YouTube

Posted by: Rich Johnson on August 6, 2009 @ 12:53 pm
Filed under: Brass Ecstasy, Dave Douglas (News), Greenleaf Music News, Listening, Music

The Brass Ecstasy Tiny Desk Concert made it to the front page on YouTube with now over 85,000 views. With 187 comments posted so far you get a wide variety of opinions on the short set.

Here’s just a few…

“Being a typical modern teenager, I never knew a brass ensemble would ever sound this pleasant to listen to until now. Thanks NPR for posting this :)”

“you guys are awesome if you really work on that you be playing pro.”

“Best 17 min and 53 secs i spent ever”

“the trumpet players’ ray bans are sick.”

“man i love that trombone player”

“where is the vocals?”

“Thanks for the political jab at Bush, Douglas. Couldn’t help yourself, right? Twilight of the Dogs. What a clever, dyslexic title. 1-20-09 was such an inspirational day for you. Transfer of power, and all that. Here it is roughly seven months later. R U proud of the job your messiah is doing? So vastly superior to Bush, right? Uh huh. obama and his administration remind me a lot of your music. Cataphonic. Ever hear of separation of music and politics? Try it sometime. It’s nice.”

“they should play ska music, cause we all know the best music involving horns is ska, true story.”

“i agree with chewbacca”


Brass Ecstasy in Perugia

Posted by: Rich Johnson on July 19, 2009 @ 9:51 pm
Filed under: Brass Ecstasy, Dave Douglas (News), Music

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Spirit Moves: Redux

Posted by: admin on July 8, 2009 @ 10:35 am
Filed under: Dave Douglas (News), Greenleaf Music News

Spirit Moves has been a pleasure to release and work on. Kudos to all who helped and are continuing to help spread the word. And with the preorder long since past, the orders shipped out (more coming in daily, thank you!), we thought to gather some of our promotional material and news together in one post. And here it is.

Brass Ecstasy: On Stage

First, most recently, we’ve released two sets from Brass Ecstasy’s record release shows in NY. Each contain new tunes not found on SM or via our Subscription series. Both are available as MP3s or FLACs. If you preordered SM, you received an email from me this morning with a link to the 9:30 show on June 19th. We’re happy to have been able to get you this music and hope you enjoy it. Check the Brass Ecstasy tour page for their upcoming European tour dates.

Both sets available here. Also included is a bundle with both sets and a Deluxe Spirit Moves that saves you some money.

Sheet Music

These charts are some of my favorites. Here is a sample of the score format. Included with the full scores are charts of all the individual parts for each tune. We’ll most likely have an update for you soon.

>>> Sheet Music at our store.


We’ve heard from so many of you regarding how much you like the DVD from the Spirit Moves Deluxe edition. We have to give props to Jem Cohen and Christoph Green for making this happen. Here are all 4 videos we’ve released on the web. More available on the aforementioned DVD.



Brass Ecstasy plays NPR's Tiny Desk Concert – Today @ 3PM

Posted by: admin on June 22, 2009 @ 9:11 am
Filed under: Dave Douglas (News), Events, Music

Fresh off the band’s run at the Jazz Standard, Brass Ecstasy head down to DC for a show this evening at Blues Alley. Tickets available here. Before the show, they’ll be stopping by NPR for a Tiny Desk Concert — a live performance on the 5th floor of NPR headquarters. The performance will be video streamed live at 3:30PM EST. Watch it here.

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