Copyright ©2011 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Trumpeter Dave Douglas always has lots of bands and projects on the front or backburner, and this year he released three very different quintet albums originally as downloads. Now they're collected in a box set.

Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says these sessions sound even better when heard together.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

KEVIN WHITEHEAD, BYLINE: Trumpeter Dave Douglas, with the new music quartet So Percussion, who also play electronics. It's from their collaboration "Bad Mango," one of a trio of recent Douglas sessions now collected in the box "Three Views."

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WHITEHEAD: There's a nice contrast among the three quintets heard on Dave Douglas' "Three Views," sketching out some of his interests. There's no overlapping repertoire or personnel. The "Orange Afternoons" session features the elastic rhythm trio of pianist Vijay Iyer, Linda Oh on bass and drummer Marcus Gilmore. The trumpeter shares the front line with slinky tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WHITEHEAD: These programs are kept short, averaging about 40 minutes each, like an LP. Dave Douglas says they're meant to recall the informal albums jazz musicians recorded in the 1950s. But these sessions don't sound like one-day quickies, no matter how fast they came together.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WHITEHEAD: The most seasoned of the three quintets in Dave Douglas's new box is Brass Ecstasy, a sort of pocket edition of the late trumpeter Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy. It even has Brass Fantasy alums Vincent Chancey on French horn, trombonist Luis Bonilla, and tuba piledriver Marcus Rojas. But this quintet has its own blend, one you can't build in a day. It's a great setting for the leader's trumpet. His ripe tone sounds gorgeous, rising out of the pack.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC, "BRASS ECSTASY")

WHITEHEAD: Mm, Christmassy. I like the way the trio of CDs in Dave Douglas's "Three Views" set each other off. A standard jazz quintet is flanked by a session for trumpet and four percussion, and another for drums and four brass. These bands mostly play new material; one exception is Brass Ecstasy's nice reading of Billy Strayhorn's ballad "Lush Life."

There is also a deluxe edition of the box that comes with a flash drive including sheet music and video and such for the superfans. But this music stands up fine all by itself.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GROSS: Kevin Whitehead is a jazz columnist for emusic.com and the author of "Why Jazz?". He reviewed "Three Views," the new box set featuring trumpeter Dave Douglas with three different quintets on the Green Leaf music label. Coming up, Maureen Corrigan presents her much-anticipated list of the best books of the year. This is FRESH AIR.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.