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Dave Douglas: Three Views

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Dave Douglas is relentlessly innovative. In 2005, the trumpeter launched his Greenleaf Music label to keep pace with his huge compositional output and to get his music to listeners more efficiently. This summer came the cloud-based Greenleaf Portable Series, the first three volumes of which-each featuring Douglas with a wildly different ensemble-have now been released as a limited-edition three-CD box set titled Three Views.

For Volume 1, Rare Metals, Douglas is joined by his sometime group Brass Ecstasy-Vincent Chancey, French horn; Luis Bonilla, trombone; Marcus Rojas, tuba; Nasheet Waits, drums-for their third album. “Town Hall” kicks off the six-track disc and is the most traditional cut on offer, with echoes of old-time New Orleans turning modernistic as Bonilla takes over the lead part, then hands it to Douglas for an energetic closer. “Thread,” Douglas’ tribute to Henry Threadgill, is the most avant-garde piece, and one of the best. “Safeway,” an elegy nudged slowly forward throughout by Waits’ somber brushes, was written during Douglas’ 2011 Copland House residency to memorialize the just-occurred attack on Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The one tune on the album not written by Douglas, Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life,” gets new harmonies from him and some out passages from the band while remaining a respectful tribute.

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