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Mountain Passages by Dave Douglas

Summoned to compose music for an Italian festival to be performed on a mountain in Italy, trumpeter Dave Douglas subsequently recorded these theme pieces in a Vancouver, B.C. studio. In the liners, Douglas reminisces about the chain of the events, where the musicians and hundreds of concert goers hiked up the mountain for the day’s festivities. Nonetheless, he’s become of the more prolific artist’s of our time, as a sample of his imaginative powers and distinct musical persona shines forth in multihued radiance here.

On this endeavor, the quintet somewhat fittingly, soars skyward as tubaist Marcus Rojas provides the mobile, lower-end backbone to complement a sequence of brassy passages, and harmonious choruses. At times, the band judiciously enacts a sense of adventure via sonorous phrasings and alternating rhythmic flows. Douglas, and multi-reedman Michael Moore generate gobs of excitement, whether performing swing-based unison lines or tempering the variable progressions.

The band also engages in a bit of turbulence, coupled with somber inferences amid a clear-cut depiction of hiking up a steep mountain along with the exhausting physical elements involved. On "Gumshoe," the quintet’s medium tempo swing vibe generates a calming effect. But in other segments, Douglas rips through 16th notes with near effortless ease, especially during "Cannonball Run," where he mixes it up nicely with Moore and cellist Peggy Lee. Other highlights abound throughout the preponderance of this musical narrative set into motion by Douglas’ interpretations and execution of an undeniably unique proposition. (Strongly recommended.... )

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Dave Douglas
  • CD Title: Mountain Passages
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Greenleaf Music
  • Tracks: 1. Summit Music, 2. Family of the Climber, 3. Gnarly Schnapps, 4. Gumshoe, 5. Twelve Degrees Proof, 6. North Point Memorial, 7. Cannonball Run, 8. Palisades, 9. A Nasty Spill, 10. Purple Mountains Majesty, 11. Off Major, 12. Bury Me Standing, 13. Encore: All Is Forgiven.
  • Musicians: Dave Douglas (trumpet), Michael Moore (alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet), Peggy Lee (cello), Marcus Rojas (tuba), Dylan van der Schyff (drums)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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