Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Dave Douglas and Frank Woeste: Dada People

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Produced with the support of the French American Jazz Exchange, Dada People is trumpeter Dave Douglas and pianist Frank Woeste’s paean to surrealist photographer Man Ray (he’s the gent glaring from the cover photo, alongside fellow Surrealist Salvador Dalí). While these 10 tracks never reach, or even really attempt, the heights of abstracted hysteria found in the most important Dadaist art, there’s still enough inspiration, passion and style in this music to satisfy listeners of any aesthetic leaning.

Douglas and Woeste evenly split compositional duties here, the tunes they create presenting an often beguiling mix of classicism and more exploratory notions. Douglas’ “Transparent” plunges into pointillistic fragmentation; Woeste plinks the uppermost registers of his keyboard before battling it out with Douglas, dipping-and-darting bassist Matt Brewer and coolly tumultuous drummer Clarence Penn. The pianist’s “Noire et Blanche” offers broad-shouldered funk rhythm and guitar-style riffs from Woeste’s Fender Rhodes, while that instrument glides gracefully around Douglas’ nimble muted lines on the trumpeter’s “Spork.” Woeste’s “Mains Libres” binds smooth-swinging trumpet and piano to a driving, harmonically bottomless framework from Penn. Brisk, pointed solos from Brewer and Woeste ignite the quietly insistent “Danger Dancer.”

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published