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Dave Douglas: United Front: Brass Ecstasy Live at Newport

Brass Ecstasy’s set was one of the highlights of the 2010 Newport Jazz Festival. Dave Douglas’ group-which featured Luis Bonilla on trombone, Vincent Chancey on French horn, Marcus Rojas on tuba and Nasheet Waits on drums-performed half a dozen tunes that meandered from bop to funk. The set was recorded for broadcast on NPR Music. Douglas, recognizing how well the quintet played, subsequently decided to release the material on his label.

On the opener, “Spirit Moves,” the tuba behaves like a bass, the trombone adheres to the melody, the French horn harmonizes and Douglas improvises on trumpet. For the most part, this is how the entire program unfolds. “Rava” (named for Enrico, not Pietro) starts with a brassy drone, over which Douglas solos. After two minutes, modern jazz erupts with a pulsating trombone and a walking-bass tuba, punctuated by shimmering trumpet blasts. “Fats” (named for Navarro, not Waller) is essentially a coda-a different (but brief) backdrop for Douglas to blow over.

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