Dave Douglas in 2011

by John Garratt

3 March 2011

Spark of Being live, composition workshop, upcoming mobile release.

Trumpeter Dave Douglas has been taking his progressive jazz combo Keystone all around the country lately, putting on the multi-media program Spark of Being which combines some forceful Douglas originals with Bill Morriso’s film of the same title.

Douglas took time out of his touring schedule one afternoon to address students of the Columbus Jazz Academy, just a few floors above where the performance would take place later that evening. “Compositional Concepts” was the name of the workshop, though nothing actually got “work shopped” in the technical sense. Douglas instead discussed the myriad of variables that go into pulling a new piece of music from thin air. My notes from the session only half make sense to me now:
Harmony….Familiarity (venue)
Texture….Legacy (style)
Density….Program (philosophy)
Cells (?)

I guess more of it was clearer to me at the time.

One somewhat interesting piece of news is that Dave Douglas told everyone in the room about how the forthcoming album by his group Brass Ecstasy, due out sometime this summer, will be his first mobile release. While having a new album beamed directly to one’s mobile device isn’t exactly science fiction in the year 2011, this is just one instance where Douglas explained that running his own record label (Greenleaf) widens his music’s exposure. Douglas’ first Brass Ecstasy release Spirit Moves was an across the board winner with most jazz critics, including PopMatters’ Will Layman, so keep an eye out for the next one, coming to an iPhone near you (your pocket).

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