York University Q&A with Dave Douglas

Dave Douglas spent a week in February at Toronto’s York University in as the 2020 Oscar Peterson Jazz Artist-in-Residence.

While he was there, Dave sat down with York professor, saxophonist, and vocalist Sundar Viswanathan for an interview. Here’s an excerpt:

Sundar: You’ve played in all kinds of scenes, from straight-ahead to free, how are you able to negotiate all of these approaches to improvising and still maintain a very personal style of trumpet playing?

Dave:  I would say there’s no conscious way of moving towards that. I never decided “Oh, I’m going to sound like this.” I was confronted by a lot of situations where I didn’t know what to do and the only thing left to do was just be myself. And then I had to learn how to do that.

Early on, I developed a reputation in New York as a musician who can take on a lot of different things. So I had to maintain the training that I had as a musician, but also be open-minded enough to apply new criteria and standards as they came along, and be willing to be challenged onstage. I’m now 56 years old and I still take gig offers when I know it’s going to be hard and I’m going to be faced with something where I’m not sure what to do. I’ve found in my career those are always the moments when I’ve grown the most.

Read the full piece here.