Friday, June 12, 2020

Dave Douglas - Dizzy Atmosphere: Dizzy Gillespie At Zero Gravity (Greenleaf Music, 2020)

Trumpeter Dave Douglas has made some interesting albums that were dedicated to other composers during his career like Stargazer for Wayne Shorter and Soul on Soul for Mary Lou Williams. On this set, he pays tribute to the great trumpeter and one of the founding bebop musicians, Dizzy Gillespie. Douglas plays original songs and Gillespie classics in the company of fellow trumpeter Dave Adewumi, Matthew Stevens on guitar, Fabian Almazan on piano, Carmen Rothwell on bass and Joey Baron on drums. "Mondrain" has a mellow opening with jabs of guitar and trumpet arcing across the soundscape. The brass sounds strong and agile amid rich complex piano playing and solid bass and drum providing rhythmic pulse. Trumpets reach and soar when given the opportunity, pushing the music skyward, then laying out for a well articulated bass solo, before the band comes together for the theme and ending. A Gillespie staple, "Manteca" is taken at a respectful medium tempo, clearly stating the melody, and Baron is excellent at creating a multi-faceted Cuban like percussive base for the performance. The trumpets make way for a pulsating guitar solo with surprising fusion overtones, then the horns really make their presence felt, doubling up and then playing off one another in a very exciting fashion. "Pickin' the Cabbage" has some raunchy old time trumpet playing adding an effervescent accent, coalescing into a punchy theme, and really featuring the brass players with minimal accompaniment, to which they respond very well. The focus shifts to the rhythm section who keeps things moving before unleashing the guitarist for a laser pointed solo feature. Baron is an old hand at this and gets a well deserved spot before the horns crash back in and lead the group to a rousing finish. "Subterfuge" has a full band melody that is brisk and modern, leading to a complex group sections that involve more lilting emotion and others of brisk swagger, arranged like a little big band for maximum effect. Overall this album works well, the band is well rehearsed and integrated, they are inspired by Gillespie, but make no attempt to imitate his musical conception, but assimilate his message across the years by playing their own unique music to the best of their ability. Dizzy Atmopshere: Dizzy Gillespie At Zero Gravity - amazon.com

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