Dave Douglas’s expansive vision has encompassed chamber groups like his Tiny Bell Trio, a string ensemble, large- and small-scale electronics, Balkan folk music, and Messaien. But for the past three or four years, his preoccupation has been with that most standard of standard jazz formats, the bebop quintet — specifically, trumpet and sax fronting a piano/bass/drums trio. And he’s zeroed in on the Miles Davis Quintet of Filles de Kilimanjaro: the Fender Rhodes keyboard, the open forms and funk grooves. Douglas isn’t merely aping Miles but going back to the material as a resource for further explorations. On Meaning and Mystery, he takes those grooves and modes and odd phrase lengths, the free improvs of the old Miles/Wayne Shorter collaborations, and uses them for extended forms. The unison theme of trumpet and tenor might come a couple of minutes into the piece, after a Fender Rhodes statement of a descending chord pattern and a free-ranging trumpet solo. Or a recurring short stop-time figure will serve as a way station, the hook, in a larger unfolding structure. The writing brings out the best in everyone. Douglas’s trumpet and Donny McCaslin’s tenor thrust and parry. Uri Caine plays the Rhodes for color and harmonic bite. And what’s the last time you heard the bassist smoke the trumpet player, as James Genus does on the opening “Painter’s Way.”
FREE-RANGE TRUMPET: Dave Douglas draws on the improvs of the old Miles/Wayne Shorter collaborations and uses them for extended forms.
Dave Douglas Quartet | May 10 + 12 | Regattabar, Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett Street, Cambridge | 617.395.7757
On the Web
Dave Douglas: http://www.davedouglas.com/