Wednesday, July 04, 2007

HurdAudio Rotation: Taking the Holiday to Listen to Dave Douglas and Dutch Jazz

Dave Douglas: Sanctuary. 1996. Avant: Avan 066.

Left channel:
Hilliard Greene: bass
Yuka Honda: sampler
Dave Douglas: trumpet

Center channel:
Chris Speed: tenor saxophone, clarinet
Dougie Bowne: drums

Right channel:
Cuong Vu: trumpet
Anthony Coleman: sampler
Mark Dresser: bass

Sanctuary is my all-time favorite Dave Douglas sound/project/composition. It's an unusual part of the Douglas oeuvre. With clear roots in the Ornette Coleman Free Jazz double quartet, Dave Douglas puts a twist on the "double" instrumentation by placing a single drummer in the center channel who plays with (and against) the smattering of sampled drum loops introduced by the samplers at the left and right channels. Structurally, this expansive free improvisation texture thrives within the expansive horizons of these two, hour-long expressions as intriguing ideas and performances wash in and out of the overall picture.

Clusone Trio: Clusone 3. 1992. Ramboy: 01.

Michael Moore: alto saxophone, clarinet, melodica
Ernst Reijseger: cello
Han Bennink: percussion

The Clustone Trio is the flip side of Sanctuary's large ensemble long-form free improvisation. And Clusone 3 reveals the pleasure of small group improvisation in a series of short, intense, energetic compositions. On this particular pass through this great CD I'm struck by the parallel - in sound, spirit and instrumentation - to Third Person (particularly when Kazutoki Umezu was the "third person" on reeds) a trio active in the same era on this side of the Atlantic. Ernst Reijseger captures that funky, beautiful cello improvisation in much the same way as the sorely missed, late Tom Cora. The difference in sound, and approach, is that the Clusone Trio attacks compositions by other composers (notably Hermeto Pascoal and Misha Mengelberg) with the same intensity and serious whimsy that they bring to their free improvisations.

Dave Douglas: Charms of the Night Sky. 1998. Winter & Winter: 910 015-2.

Dave Douglas: trumpet
Guy Klucevsek: accordion
Mark Feldman: violin
Greg Cohen: bass

Charms of the Night Sky is a great CD that doesn't spend nearly enough time spinning in the tray for my tastes. It features a drummer-less quartet bathed in near-ECM levels of reverb playing painfully beautiful arrangements of Dave Douglas' klezmer-inspired compositions. The range of timbral color pouring out of this combination of instruments is stunning as the sequence of pieces frequently shifts between introspective, arching solos and rollicking, odd-meter forays.

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