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

Dave Douglas/Tiny Bell Trio: Live in Europe

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.

Tiny Bell Trio is an apt name for this collective of trumpeter Dave Douglas, guitarist Brad Schoeppach, and drummer-percussionist Jim Black. Their forte is less the dynamics the name suggests but in how they render Douglas’ music to exploit its fragmentary and bare-boned essentials. Performances from their tour of Europe in October 1996 fill this CD. Broken percussion patterns and fancifully designed tapestries, the spatial and roller coaster scalular runs all vie for listener attention.

Innovative and experimental as the trio’s creations are dubbed, it bears an uncanny kinship to the expressionist theatre music of Weill’s Three Penny Opera. “Song For My Father-In-Law/Uncle Wiggly” would especially respond to this programmatic sensibility. Themes and music are subject to reversals as listeners would anticipate them according to titles. There is nothing sensuous, for example, about “Bardot,” if it is indeed named or inspired by the actress; yet the music suggests an ecoconsciousness (something which the actress has been promoting for longer than her film career). Melancholia distinguishes “The Cherry Tree Still Stands;” and for “Langsam” the trio offers an anthem-like solemnity. Does the listener detect a whole-tone mode in “Zeno?” And doesn’t the Hungarian-derived “Czardas” open with a fanfare associated with mariachi bands?

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.