Written by Grant Jackson from NPR
Composer, trumpeter and improviser Dave Douglas has a style that transcends the boundaries of traditional jazz. This approach has led to albums of experimental music both on his own and as a member of John Zorn‘s band Masada. On this episode of Piano Jazz from 2000, Douglas and host Marian McPartland, joined by bassist James Genus, showcase their mutual love for Mary Lou Williams‘ music in “Scratchin’ in the Gravel” and “Cloudy.”
Douglas is committed, as both a composer and a performer, to extending the traditional language of jazz into new territories. He credits Miles Davis as an inspiration to keep moving musically.
His discography illustrates Douglas’ willingness to explore and embrace varied styles of music. With more than 100 recordings, including 20 as a bandleader, Douglas has played with a list of far-flung artists, including Anthony Braxton, Don Byron, Joe Lovano, Uri Caine, Suzanne Vega, Cibo Matto, Sean Lennon, Fred Hersch, Mark Dresser, Sheryl Crow and Patricia Barber.
Douglas has written compositions for a wide range of ensembles, from jazz trios to symphony orchestras. He’s also received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and has created chamber works commissioned by the Library of Congress. Douglas turned 50 this year, and has set the goal of reaching all 50 U.S. states with his live performances. He’s been targeting outdoor and off-the-beaten-path locations where his brand of improvisation does not often reach.
Originally recorded on March 9, 2000.