By Ken Micallef
With his endless energy and boundless invention, trumpeter Dave Douglas takes on new projects as if changing suits—or in his case, caps. If Douglas ever chooses to settle down, Riverside (Greenleaf)—his new album (and band of the same name) with Chet Doxas (clarinet and saxophone), Steve Swallow (electric bass) and Jim Doxas (drums)—would be an ideal place to sit a spell. The quartet presented the album’s Americana-meets-jazz sounds at New York’s Jazz Standard on April 15–16.
Douglas explored hymnal jazz on 2012’s Be Still (Greenleaf), big band jazz on 2009’s A Single Sky (Greenleaf) and paid tribute to pianist Mary Lou Williams on 2000’s Soul On Soul (RCA). The trumpeter changes direction so adeptly—typically bringing to bear eclectic styles and sources on his increasingly wide-ranging music—that it is impossible to pigeonhole the musician behind the music.
Riverside is a tribute to composer-clarinetist-saxophonist Jimmy Giuffre (1921–2008). According to the liner notes, “Jimmy blazed many trails in music. He inspires us to new levels of melodic invention, rhythmic subtlety, and true freedom in the practice of improvisation.” The album consists of original compositions by Douglas and Chet Doxas, respectively, as well as one Giuffre tune (“The Train And The River”) and a cover of Johnny Mercer’s “Travelin’ Light,” the title track of Giuffre’s 1958 trio album.
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