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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby




Bluebird 09026 64008 2

Dave Douglas, trumpet, keyboards, voice
Jamie Saft, keyboards, loops, programming
Marc Ribot, electric guitar
Karsh Kale, tabla and additional drums on (1)
Joey Baron, drums
Romero Lubambo, acoustic guitar (2)
Brad Jones, Anpeg baby bass, acoustic bass
Ikue Mori, electronic percussion
Seamus Blake, saxophone ( 1, 3, 5, 10 )
Chris Speed, saxophone, clarinet ( 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12 )
Craig Taborn, Fender Rhodes ( 7, 12 )
Michael Sarin, drums ( 7, 12 )
Recorded July - September 2002 NYC

1. Freak In
2. Culver City Park
3. Black Rock Park
4. Hot Club Of 13th Street
5. Eastern Parkway
6. November
7. Porto Alegre
8. The Great Schism
9. Wild Blue
10. Maya
11. Traveller There Is No Road

This latest release from contemporary trumpet king Dave Douglas is in many ways a continuation of the more electronic stylings of post 60’s Miles Davis. The overall style is hard and aggressive and yet there is much to recommend this recording. There is a great feeling of freedom and joy throughout most of the pieces here and there is a genuine swing generated on the brighter numbers. All of the compositions are by the leader and are most effective, even if some of them are of a somewhat angular nature.

The instrumentation is both rich and varied in its originality. The use of the tabla on track one is reminiscent of the work of Joe Zawinul , particularly of the middle period of Weather Report such as the "Tail Spinnin’ "album. Track 2 is much more lyrical and yet still maintains a certain drive; this tune has some beautifully controlled trumpet playing from Douglas, showing of his dark and brooding tone. " Black Rock Park " is much heavier, featuring the electric guitar with sparse accompaniments from the brass. Rising saxophone star Seamus Blake puts in a telling solo on this tune, illustrating the more way out side of his performing. It is strange, but whenever I hear a younger musician playing in this slightly askew manner I am always reminded of James Moody – perhaps one of the unsung influences on so much of today’s improvisational style.

The other reedman, Chris Speed , makes several worthy contributions, but this record is really about the playing of Douglas who is quite plainly one of the most original and gifted musicians on the current scene. This disc represents what is best in contemporary jazz – it is pushing the boundaries and yet it has its roots firmly in previous styles.

Dick Stafford.

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