Three Views

Dave Douglas

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Three Views Review

by Thom Jurek

The handsome box that is Dave Douglas' Three Views contains three EPs, all released in 2011, that were previously available only as digital downloads via the Greenleaf Portable Series. (All are more than half an hour long.) Douglas, who is always seeking new ways of getting his music to new listeners as well as to established fans, claims that the demand for physical releases was so high he felt he had to make them available as physical entities as well. Greenleaf Music, Douglas' own label, is innovative. The Greenleaf Portable Series is delivered through a website that is optimized for mobile platforms; it provides a cloud player that gives instant access to Greenleaf’s ever-expanding catalog. In addition, at the time of this writing, apps for the iPhone and iPad are being developed. As for the music, these three EPs showcase three different bands with a wide cross section of musicians. Volume one is Rare Metals, performed by Douglas' new group, Brass Ecstasy with Vincent Chancey on French horn, Luis Bonilla on trombone, Marcus Rojas on tuba, and drummer Nasheet Waits in addition to the trumpeter. There are five compelling new Douglas compositions written specifically for this group, as well as a gorgeously revisioned arrangement of Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life." Volume two, entitled Orange Afternoons, showcases an all-star quintet assembled for the purpose of this release. His trumpet is accompanied by saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, pianist Vijay Iyer, bassist Linda Oh, and drummer Marcus Gilmore. Douglas' six compositions for this group range from beautifully articulated modal explorations ("The Gulf") to edgy yet hard-swinging tunes ("Solato") to adventurous ballads (the title track). It is the most satisfying title in the box. The final EP in this set is Bad Mango. It places Douglas in the company of So Percussion, a new music group previously separate from the trumpeter's musical sphere. The music here brings together new tunes and reworkings of numbers found on his Witness and Tiny Bell Trio albums. So Percussion play everything from conventional drum kits and (numerous) hand drums to glockenspiel, marimbas, pails, musical saw, cans, bottles, bells, toy pianos and organs, turntables, etc. While the music is ambitious, it is also far inside the realm of listenability for jazzheads and will prove a delight for most. Three Views also comes with nine square postcards containing photographs from the various sessions. Reportedly, this physical box is a limited edition that will not be reissued in physical form once it sells out. This is an exciting way to hear new works from Douglas. And while it's commendable -- and more than likely necessary -- that he continues to develop the technological format for distribution of his work, one hopes that he continues to issue physical recordings like this one too.

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