DAVE DOUGLAS – DEVOTION

The new album from Dave Douglas, Uri Caine, and Andrew Cryille was released on May 17.

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Trumpeter Dave Douglas and pianist Uri Caine continue their long-time musical association with a new album featuring master drummer Andrew Cyrille. The sequel to the 2014 Douglas / Caine album Present Joys that centered on renditions of Sacred Harp tunes and which the New York Times called, “an album of duologue that manages to be at once intimate, soulful and irrepressibly buoyant,” Devotion features new original compositions by Douglas in devotion to many of today’s greatest composers.

On the 2014 Greenleaf Music release Present Joys, trumpeter Dave Douglas and pianist Uri Caine turned selections from the starkly beautiful “Sacred Harp” songbook into jazz-rooted duologues that were, as the New York Times put it, “at once intimate, soulful and irrepressibly buoyant.” An archaic, centuries-old Protestant singing tradition might seem like implausible source material for two of the most important improvisors of their generation, but Douglas and Caine’s penchant for pulling inspiration from all corners of musical and cultural history is well established.

Their lived-in, innate sense of interplay was built in the 1990s and aughts, when Caine was a member of various Douglas-led bands, including his acclaimed quintet. On Devotion, that rapport expands with brilliant input from the hugely influential drummer Andrew Cyrille.

Douglas and Cyrille also have plenty of shared history to tap into. The drummer participated in Douglas’ landmark Metamorphosis performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center and the year-long subscriber series project through Greenleaf Music. A decade earlier, Cyrille in Douglas’ Golden Heart Quartet, which toured the U.S. and Europe. In 2008, Cyrille joined Allen, Roy Campbell, William Parker, Hamid Drake, Mixashawn Rosie and Henry Grimes in Douglas-helmed performances of Don Cherry’s Symphony for Improvisers.

“Andrew has presence,” Douglas says. “He’s always fully present in each moment. That’s the thing that he brought to this trio, joining me and Uri, who have played a lot of duo music. I knew Andrew would sense exactly what was needed in each moment. Playing with him is always a great pleasure and a revelation.” Indeed, Cyrille is the ideal rhythmic presence throughout Devotion—surging, skittering and coloring below Douglas and Caine’s lines, which range from folk-like and blues-flecked to fascinatingly abstruse. The session’s atmosphere and attitude can move seamlessly from intimacy to immensity, bringing to mind another of Douglas’ recent projects, his New Sanctuary Trio with guitarist Marc Ribot and drummer-percussionist Susie Ibarra.

In the way of repertoire, Devotion is an act of precisely that, a collection of Douglas originals crafted in homage to a wide swath of worthy deities and places. “Curly” takes its name from Douglas’ favorite Stooge (a.k.a. Jerome Horwitz). “Never forget the levity,” the trumpeter advises. “D’Andrea” and “Francis of Anthony” are for the great Italian pianist and composer Franco D’Andrea—“someone I continue to learn from,” Douglas enthuses. “His book about intervals is quite extraordinary, but playing with him and playing his music opened me up to other ways of organizing and appraising musical events.” “Miljøsang” and “False Allegiances” are nods to pianist-composer (and NEA Jazz Master) Carla Bley, with whom Douglas has toured.

Douglas wrote “Prefontaine” in Eugene, Oregon, where he was able to do some runs in the tragic Olympian’s footsteps. “Pacific,” a dedication to Aine Nakamura and the Mannes/New School composition class of fall 2017, began as an assignment. “[Nakamura] played an Asian stringed instrument tuned C-F-C, and we wrote within those limitations,” Douglas says. “Those letters became the basis for the title.”

Rose and Thorn,” for Mary Lou Williams, is the result of another exercise, this one adapted from the author Colum McCann, “to write a descriptive piece about an object or situation, from two divergent perspectives,” Douglas says. “This is the pricklier one.” “We Pray” honors Dizzy Gillespie. The album’s closing title track, a meld of compositions, continues the conversation in Sacred Harp music begun on Present Joys. “I feel that the understanding and insight that Uri and I have into Sacred Harp repertoire has deepened and broadened,” Douglas explains.

“We haven’t talked about it much,” he adds, “but I feel both of us digging deeper into the spiritual sense of the music and allowing for a freer exploration of the extensions.”

In a sense, Douglas argues, Devotion is a tribute to his collaborators as well. “In this trio, I felt that a particular focus and intention were required,” he says. “To play with Uri and Andrew, I needed to go to a particularly reverent space as a trumpeter.”

TRACK DETAILS
1. Curly
2. D’Andrea
3. Francis of Anthony
4. Miljøsang
5. False Allegiances
6. Prefontaine
7. Pacific
8. Rose and Thorn
9. We Pray
10. Devotion

PERSONNEL
Dave Douglas, trumpet
Uri Caine, piano
Andrew Cyrille, drums & percussion

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Producer: Dave Douglas
Recorded at The Samurai Hotel Recording Studio, Astoria, NY on September 23, 2018
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Tyler McDiarmid
Design by Lukas Frei
Photography by Anna Yatskevich

Compositions by Dave Douglas (Dave Douglas Music / BMI), except “Devotion” by Alexander Johnson (composed in 1818).

PRESS QUOTES
“The playing is intimate, mutually responsive, rhythmically capricious but often genially swinging, too.”
John Fordham, The Guardian Album of the Month ★★★★☆

“… the album ends with Alexander Johnson’s sacred harp hymn, “Devotion,” and a performance that captures both the literal and figurative meanings of the word, as well as offering some of the album’s most inspired interplay.”
J.D. Considine, DownBeat Editor’s Pick

“Devotion … is credited to three brilliant musicians: trumpeter Dave Douglas, pianist Uri Caine, and drummer Andrew Cyrille. Whether on the sanctified title track or a piece like “Miljøsang,” their efforts as an improvising trio strive toward an indivisible whole.
Nate Chinen, WBGO Take Five Feature

“Legendary drummer Andrew Cyrille … provides the perfect rhythmic presence for Douglas and Caine’s interactions. Devotion is an album both intimate and buoyant.”
JAZZIZ, 10 Albums You Need to Know About

“Douglas architects this music with empathy and trust, and the trio bestows a spontaneous charm that leaves a lasting impression.”
Jazz Trail ★★★★

“[T]he feel throughout is of three close collaborators enjoying playing together. It’s a great record but I imagine hearing this live would be even better.”
Brian Homer, UK Vibe ★★★★

“Dave Douglas, Uri Caine, and Andrew Cyrille are master musicians and communicators. We are the beneficiaries of their hard work, interactions, and, yes, devotion.”
Richard Kamins, Step Tempest

“It’s an equal collaboration in every sense. … “Rose And Thorn,” which comes in the album’s final third, is almost New Orleans jazz, with Caine playing a rollicking, rambunctious babbling brook of notes as Cyrille throws down some serious parade beats, including plenty of cowbell. When Douglas dives in, his tone is rich and full, and his lines, while abstract, convey nothing but raw joy.”
Phil Freeman, Stereogum

“Three strong musical personalities impose themselves onto these Douglas originals and end up with a riveting trio … that sounds like no other.”
S. Victor Aaron, Something Else!

“If the finest compliment one can pay to a recording is that you could listen to it repeatedly all day, grab a chair and begin.”
Mark Corroto, All About Jazz ★★★★☆