Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dave Douglas - Meaning and Mystery (Greenleaf, 2006)

Throughout this very enjoyable disc, Dave Douglas plays strong open trumpet atop a bed of lush Fender Rhodes electric piano accompaniment. Douglas sounds great against the shimmering electronic arrangements and the overall sound is clean, more in the mode of one of his previous album The Infinite as opposed to the greasy and gritty feel of Freak Out. The music reminds me of the Miles Davis album Filles de Kilimanjaro. Donny McCaslin holds down the saxophone chair, continuing the big year he is having with an appearance on this disc in addition to the two solo albums he has released so far this year on Sunnyside and Criss Cross. The man behind the Fender Rhodes is Uri Caine. Besides being a frequent collaborator of Dave Douglas, Caine may be the musician on the current scene who is exploring the possibilities of the electric piano to its fullest extent in creating atmospheric tension, funk lines and using the instrument as an expressive vehicle for soloing. James Genus and Clarence Penn hold down the bass and drum spots respectively, and they create a superb pocket for the rest of the band to improvise upon.

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