The prolific and shape-shifting trumpeter Dave Douglas teams up with longtime friend and collaborator pianist Uri Caine on Present Joys to explore the rude elegance and depth of feeling in the centuries-old shape note tradition, which, with its deceptive simplicity, might be a musical equivalent to woodcut visual arts.
The duo presents five compositions from shape-note tunebooks and five Douglas
originals that hew closely to the vein of that tradition. The very first track, A. M. Cayle’s “Soar Away,” with its stately, bucolic melancholy, sets the stage. Douglas adopts a vivid, rough-hewn tone on his horn that perfectly suits the material, and there’s an almost classical feel to the
lilting counterpoint conversation between the two players.
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