Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dave Douglas - Jazz Standard: December 6, 2006, Set 1

By forming his own record label, Dave Douglas has much more flexibility in recording and distributing his music. His latest project was recording a weeks worth of live performances by his band at the Jazz Standard in New York City and making them available for sale through his web site. I downloaded the first set from their second night of recording. The band is Douglas on cornet; Donny McCaslin on tenor saxophone; Uri Caine on electric piano; James Genus on bass and Clarence Penn on drums. The recordings sound is very good and the files are non-DRM mp3 files encoded at 192Kbps. The set starts with "Penelope" which is a mid-tempo performance, with a break about 2/3 of the way through, building tension which is resolved by some shimmering electric piano. Douglas sounds very good and confident on the cornet. "Painter's Way" features some funky fender rhodes electric piano setting a nice melody."Living Streams" opens with cornet and then McCaslin comes in with some mellower ballad playing, sounding a little forced. This song drags a little and is the weak link of the set. The group bounces back with "Skeeterism" as Douglas and McCaslin intertwine in the melody before the tenor saxophone breaks free for some fine modern bop soloing. Caine gets some nice pastel-ish rhodes in over riffing horns. "Meaning and Mystery" is a fine feature for Douglas' cornet over some mellow electric piano. The set ending "Seventeen" allows the band to stretch out at great length with some fine ensemble playing and a round of good solos. This is a good snapshot of an important working band on the job, and is recommended to Douglas' many fans.

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