eMusic Q&A with Dave Douglas

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eMusic’s Britt Robson caught up with Douglas by phone in Berlin in November, where he was on tour with fellow trumpeter Enrico Rava before heading home for a four-night extravaganza in early December at the Jazz Standard in New York. That heralded engagement will feature each one of his three GPS ensembles on successive nights, preceded by another band whose live recording will likely become the fourth GPS release.

The last time we spoke, just a little more than a year ago, you were working on a painstaking collaboration with avant-garde film maker Bill Morrison, using archival footage to re-imagine the Frankenstein myth for “Spark of Being.” Since then, you’ve released four records, the last three of them more informal outings as the Greenleaf Portable Series. Is this hit-and-run experimentalism like a novelist writing short stories, a way to vary the creative process?

Yeah, I guess that’s a good analogy; or like, in playwriting, you imagine a cast when you write a piece. Especially when you are working with great improvisers, you want to write something that invites them into the story. Throughout my career, I’m constantly looking for different contexts to do what I do as a composer and a player. This year, having this new mode of music delivery, I said, “Wow, I can do all the things I want to do right now.”

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