Saturday, May 07, 2005

One evening out of a thousand

Saint Louis Jazz Fest has at last updated their website and announced their lineup for next month. And I can hardly believe my good luck: Dave Douglas, one of my very favorite living performers and composers, will be there.

Douglas has a wonderfully open and distinctive approach to the trumpet, and has been astoundingly prolific, with a current total of at least three working bands. My favorite: the Charms of the Night Sky group, so named after their first recording. Incorporating elements of Eastern European folk music (in addition to Douglas's trumpet, the instruments include accordian, violin, bass), this group plays beautiful, soulful music. Their second recording, A Thousand Evenings, is just as lovely, with a most appropriate epigram from Zen master Shunryu Suzuki:
The reason everything looks so beautiful is because it is out of balance. But its background is always in perfect harmony.

But these are just two of a very long discography, ranging from avant-garde to neo-fusion, incorporating the influence of everything from klezmer to the often overlooked work of Mary Lou Williams.

And although it's his Quintet, not the Night Sky group, that will be in St. Louis, you won't find me complaining, especially since it looks like this will be the only stateside jazz fest he does all summer. (He'll be playing with John Zorn's Masada at the Marciac Festival, but it's not looking like I'll make it to the south of France this year.)

So check out Dave Douglas. And if you're within driving distance of St. Louis in June, see him live. (Of course, if you're within driving distance of NY city, you could probably see him live on other occasions.)

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