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Dave Douglas Quintet, Be Still
Greenleaf Music, Sept. 25

08/30/12
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



New York City-born jazz trumpeter Douglas spent his teens schooling at the private Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, famous for its Harkness Method oval-table teaching style. One can assume that this Socratic openness helped him process the death of his mother last year, an event central to this LP, his 30th-or-so overall and 16th on his own Greenleaf imprint, which has provided a home not only to Douglas himself but to Donny McCaslin and Nels Cline as well. The hymns Douglas’ mother requested to be played at her funeral are here, brightly reverent things in step with the originals, which only rarely get uppity save for a Mingus-ish outburst closing out “Middle March.” This stuff is New Orleans-flavored for sure, brassy and hot-tarred when it’s not busy supporting vocalist Aoife O’Donovan, whose unambitious, almost whispered soprano tends to hang like a mist over the hesitant strains of such things as “Whither Must I Wonder.” In every way it’s as much a celebration of stillness as a farewell to his favorite person. A —Eric W. Saeger






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