Monday, April 18, 2011

Dave Douglas Brass Ecstacy - United Front: Live at Newport (Greenleaf, 2011)

Trumpeter, cornetist and composer Dave Douglas is a man who wears many hats: leader of multiple bands, this one being called Brass Ecstasy consisting of Douglas on trumpet, Vincent Chancey on French horn, Luis Bonilla on trombone, Marcus Rojas on tuba and Nasheet Waits on drums. With the music recorded live, it has a festive and fun feel, at one hand harkening back to the brass bands that gave birth to jazz, and the modern jazz that Douglas always looks toward. “Spirit Moves” combines these two notions quite well (something many other musicians, including Wynton Marsalis have done with varying degrees of success) allowing spirituals to come into play with the brass and jazz improvisation to good effect. “Rava” and “Fats” are seemingly dedicated to the great Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava and silent film star Fatty Arbuckle respectively and transpose well into this setting allowing Douglas to take fluid and flowing solos while the band, especially the always excellent Waits, urges him on. "United Front" has a union song/protest feel like something Charlie Haden would have done with his Liberation Music Orchestra. The set ending “Bowie” is a fine tribute to Lester Bowie, who was part of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. The AEOC’s credo was “from the ancient to the future” and that notion is something that guides this ensemble as well, as can be seen by the juxtaposition of the progressive “Bowie” with the band’s surprising take on the old country standard “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” Brass Ecstacy at Newport -

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