Released on Premonition Records in 2004, Bow River Falls was recorded in a single afternoon at The Banff Centre in June 2003. This was truly a meeting of musicians — each a member of the faculty at the 2002 Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, each bringing compositions/arrangements to this book of music. Released in 2004 on Premonition Records, this stands as Douglas’ first release after his departure from RCA just prior to starting his own label, Greenleaf Music.
Personnel: Dave Douglas (trumpet), Louis Sclavis (clarinet, bass clarinet), Peggy Lee (cello), Dylan van der Schyff (drums, laptop).
So little can be said about music without trampling it underfoot. In music we escape the real world. For as long as the music lasts we live in the sound, in a world that has no physical existence. Conversely, music also brings us more into the world by point out the mysteries in life and human experience. Why are we here? What are our relationships to each other? How do we handle ourselves? What is universal truth? I feel that what can be said about music merely helps to put it in a context. Here is some information about the human side of this recording, and how Bow River Falls came about.
This was a true meeting of musicians. First brought together as a quartet by Ken Pickering at the Vancouver Jazz Festival in 1998, each of us subsequently met up in various situations, none documented on record. Louis invited me a few times to join his remarkable quintet in France. Peggy and Dylan, central to the vital creative music scene in Vancouver, both joined a project that I call Mountain Passages. Out first gig involved a hike to 9,000 feel in the Italian Dolomites. Needles to say, there was no recording equipment available.
When pianist Kenny Werner offered me the job as director of the Banff Workshop in 2002, Peggy and Dylan were the first two musicians I called to join the faculty. It was amazing to spend a few weeks with them and their songs Curtis and Dexter in the dry mountain air of Banff National Park. With the generous help of the French consulate, we were also able to bring Louis to participate in the workshop.
One of the most unexpected surprises at Banff is the existence, within all the wilderness (bears, elk, etc.), the state of the art recording studio. With the assistance of Banff Audio Department, we took an afternoon to put this recording together.
It was agreed that all of us would contribute compositions and conceptions, making the project truly a cooperative effort. Thought we did rehearse, these readings of each other’s pieces retain a comfortable, spontaneous feeling. The instrumentation gave us an opportunity to add on of my favorite pieces by the great Steve Lacy, the catchy and infectious Blinks. Dylan’s addition of laptop computer to his drum kit on several pieces seems to blend naturally with the acoustic instruments, while creating an otherworldly atmosphere on the title track, on Window, and elsewhere.
Some of these pieces appear elsewhere in our discographies—for me, that heightens the uniqueness of this meeting. From disparate parts of the globe, united in a remote locations, for a few hours, the language of music overcomes all boundaries in communication.
Music speaks louder than words.
— Dave Douglas, 2004