The Dave Douglas Primer
by Jason Gubbels | April 25, 2013
With some 35 solo releases and an even greater number of sideman dates to his name, jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas has amassed an impressive discography since making his first recording in 1988. His latest quintet album, Time Travel (released earlier this month), showcases one wrinkle of his stylistic range: complex yet melodically satisfying compositions, a familiarity with the avant-garde and a love for the dynamic range of the mid-'60s Miles Davis Quintet.
Trying to summarize his career might be a fool’s errand, however. Musically, his interests run the gamut from free bop and fusion to country/folk, pop and electronica. He has penned a thematic treatment of Fatty Arbuckle (Keystone), composed a full-album tribute to Mary Lou Williams (Soul on Soul), and scored the film soundtrack to an experimental restoration of Frankenstein (Spark of Being). He has helmed the Balkan-influenced Tiny Bell Trio, proved an integral feature of John Zorn’s Masada project, and worked alongside such notables as Jim Black, Uri Caine, Anthony Braxton, Bill Frisell, Jon Irabagon, Joey Baron and No Wave pioneer Ikue Mori. He has welcomed Tom Waits aboard the album Witness to read aloud the prose of Naguib Mahfouz, covered Ola Belle Reed and Jean Sibelius back-to-back on 2012’s Be Still, and offered interpretations of Rufus Wainwright, Mary J. Blige, and Björk in the ethereal manner of the Davis Quintet’s Filles de Kilimanjaro (on 2002’s The Infinite).
So while it might be foolhardy to try and do his ongoing career justice through a single playlist, here are 23 cuts by which to sample the dexterous talent that is Dave Douglas.