UPLIFT - 2018 Subscriber Series

Twelve Pieces For Positive Action

Dave Douglas, trumpet
Joe Lovano, alto clarinet
Mary Halvorson, guitar
Julian Lage, guitar
Bill Laswell, bass
Ian Chang, drums and electronics

Production Credits:
Recorded and mixed by Tyler McDiarmid at Orange Music Sound Studio in Orange, NJ on December 11, 2017.
Video and photography shot by Geoff Countryman
Artwork by Yoko Yamabe at Randesign

Responding to the current political and social climate of the United States and beyond, Dave Douglas has put together a new project that challenges himself and all of us to consider how we can pitch in toward positive change.

Featuring twelve new Douglas compositions for a new sextet, each piece highlights a specific social cause and references organizations doing important work. As he says:

“The title, UPLIFT, comes from my searching for a way to NOT be negative about all the things changing in this country. Instead, the idea is to suggest concrete things that can be done on various topics and shout outs to organizations doing good work in each area.”

The ensemble, which came together to record the music in December 2017, features some of the most interesting artists in modern creative music: saxophonist Joe Lovano, guitarists Mary Halvorson and Julian Lage, bassist Bill Laswell and drummer Ian Chang.

Throughout 2018, we released a new track each month exclusively for subscribers. Subscribers can stream and download the material on Bandcamp.

“The sextet’s inspiring character arises to the forefront on the closing title, the spry, delightfully melodic “Truth is Truth,” where the group’s organization and solidarity is spot-on and encompassing. With UPLIFT, Douglas proves again why he’s one of the best composers, band leaders and jazz instigators. Through his music on UPLIFT, Douglas expresses an imperative message: positive action is needed and necessary.”Audiophile Audition ★★★★

“In 2018, Douglas made a timely return to music written in response to issues related to human rights. In the past, his activism has generated some of his most compelling music, and UPLIFT is no exception. It bristles with electricity, thanks to the presence of guitarists Mary Halvorson and Julian Lage, and bassist Bill Laswell, and stands apart in Lovano’s discography as a rare pairing of the saxophonsit with a coprs of sonic adventurers.”Downbeat ★★★★

“The album could also have been subtitled “Twelve Templates for Thrilling Improvising”: the options are wide open and brilliantly exploited. While Lovano​ has been a long-term sparring partner and slightly earthier foil to Douglas’s quicksilver musical mind, a particular fascination comes from the two guitarists’ interaction against the juddering, delightfully unconventional rhythm section of Laswell​ and Chang.”Sydney Morning Herald ★★★★½

“Douglas wrote UPLIFT as an assessment of, and prescription for, the current political climate of the United States. You can hear all the turmoil, zeal, and soul-searching that’s playing out across the country in every measure. The message comes across with a subtle radicality, like Christ’s preaching of the Good News across Galilee.”JazzTimes

(L to R): Dave Douglas, Mary Halvorson, Bill Laswell, Joe Lovano, Ian Chang, Julian Lage

Track 1 - The Power of the Vote

The most powerful voice we have in making change is the power of the vote. Vote in every election, no matter how local. The right to vote is under attack around the country, through voter suppression, voter ID laws, scarcity of polling places, and gerrymandering. Read more…

Track 2 - Lift All Boats

This piece is dedicated to the movement for wealth equality and fairness. This is a huge issue with many moving pieces. Certainly, we need to urge our political leaders to consider economic fairness for all. Read more…

Track 3 - Every Town

Every Town is a powerful organization pleading for common sense gun controls in the United States. Action on this issue is so over due it is simply heartbreaking. This week we have been hearing from teenage survivors of a school shooting in Florida. We must listen and change our ways. Read more…

Track 4 - Truly The Sun

Women’s empowerment, equal treatment, education, and health care are issues that intersect with every cause and movement. There is so much that has to change and this issue in particular can feel overwhelming. It impacts all walks of life, including, sadly, my particular area in music and the arts. Read more…

Track 5 - Love is a Battle

The phrase comes from a James Baldwin piece on the struggle for racial justice. There is hard work that we all have to do. I am also inspired by the George Yancy essay, Dear White America, from 2015. It’s not pretty. It’s a struggle. Read more…

Track 6 - Trail of Dreams

The way we treat immigrants in this country says a lot about who we are. Emma Lazarus long ago told us to open our arms and welcome everyone. Now we are in a struggle just to extend simple humanity to people who live in this country peacefully and productively — in many cases for decades — the Dreamers. Read more…

Track 7 - A Tree Planted by the River of Water

Amid all the struggles for justice, peace and equality this year, the right to health care remains one of the most persistent problems in this country. Advocating for health takes many forms, and like so many other issues, intersects with almost every aspect of life. Read more…

Track 8 - Sharing a Small Planet

Global interconnectedness and humanity. We need to educate ourselves so we can coexist on this planet. No single nation can “go it alone.” It was a founding father, Benjamin Franklin, who said, “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” Read more…

Track 9 - Shine Like the Dawn

This song is about support for the humanities: arts, culture, philosophy, language, love. Such a crucial part of who we all are, and yet so overlooked in our government, in our political environment. How often do we think about working to support the people that we actually are, our cultures and traditions? Read more…

Track 10 - Fear No Love

Fear No Love supports Lamda Legal and their work on behalf of LGBTQ legal and civil rights. We also urge you to support your local candidates and issues as the November elections approach. And be absolutely sure to vote! Read more…

Track 11 - The Garden

Working for clean air, clean water, parks, greenery, sacred lands, national monuments, and the health of this planet we all share. We are joining Endless Field, who have organized a benefit concert for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) called LIVING EARTH 2018. Read more…

Track 12 - Truth is Truth

Facts, objective research, science and the nature of truth are some of our most precious assets as humans. Lately, they are being challenged, denied, and even vilified. We must stand with the truth, wisdom and understanding and continue to seek them out in our communities. Read more…