Dave Douglas & High Risk | Constellation | Jazz, Summer Guide | Chicago Reader
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Dave Douglas

Dave Douglas

Austin Nelson

When: Wed., July 1, 7:30 p.m. and Thu., July 2, 7:30 p.m. 2015
Price: $25, $20 in advance
Among brand-name contemporary jazz musicians, few have embraced change and experimentation like trumpeter Dave Douglas. For years he seemed to form a new group every few months, each with a particular mission or focus—though lately he’s settled down. On this year’s Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival (Blue Note) he flexes the mainstream chops at his core during an excellent set with tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano and the collective Sound Prints (the recording is the latest in a series celebrating the music of saxophonist Wayne Shorter). His most recent project, however, finds him pushing boundaries again. In April 2014 the trumpeter played an improvised duet with Detroit electronic-music producer Shigeto at New York’s Town Hall. The pair had never met before but hit it off and began working on a collaboration, exchanging compositional ideas via e-mail. They entered the studio with bassist Jonathan Maron (who also plays a synth bass on some tracks) and drummer Mark Guiliana last October, and in a single day cut the seven tunes on the recent High Risk (Greenleaf). While the trumpeter has previously worked with electronic musicians, this project with Shigeto—who studied jazz at New York’s New School—is far more explicit in its exploration of groove. The rhythm section lays down hard, thick tempos that teeter between danceable and chaotic, while Shigeto creates ambient washes, spaced-out rhythmic patterns, and starbursts of color—all of which give Douglas tons of space and ideas to improvise over. He eats it up with some of his most inspired, fat-toned blowing, at once reflecting the influence of 70s-era Miles Davis and forging something new in the way he plays off of Shigeto’s gurgling but melodic abstractions. —Peter Margasak

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