The School of Music and Earshot Jazz present noted New York City trumpeter Dave Douglas in concert with UW Jazz faculty Cuong Vu, trumpet, Ted Poor, drums; and top UW Jazz Studies students.
Note: The School of Music also presents a Meet the Artist session with Dave Douglas on Friday, Nov. 8, 12:30 to 1 p.m. at the Jones Playhouse. The session is free and open to the public.
Dave Douglas, trumpet
Dave Douglas arguably became the most original trumpeter/composer of his generation. Douglas' stylistic range is broad yet unaffected; his music is not a pastiche, but rather a personal aesthetic that reflects a wide variety of interests. He explicitly cites such diverse influences as Igor Stravinsky, Stevie Wonder, and John Coltrane. As a composer, Douglas adapts and synthesizes unusual forms and creates his own out of disparate elements. As a trumpeter, he possesses a comprehensive jazz technique; certainly one hears the ghost of Lester Bowie in Douglas' expressive manipulations of timbre and pitch, but more pronounced is the integration of distinctive compositional and improvisational conceptions that ultimately defines his work.
Douglas grew up in the New York City area. He started playing piano at the age of five, then trombone at seven before discovering the trumpet at nine. He learned jazz harmony in high school and began playing improvised music as an exchange student in Barcelona, Spain. From 1981 to 1983 he studied in Boston, first at the Berklee School of Music, then the New England Conservatory. He moved to New York City in 1984, where he attended New York University and studied with Carmine Caruso. In 1987, he toured Europe with Horace Silver. The early '90s saw Douglas begin to record in earnest; he led or co-led dates for the Hat Art, Soul Note, New World, and Arabesque labels. His various bands included the Tiny Bell Trio, a self-described "jazz-Balkan-improv" group with drummer Jim Black and guitarist Brad Shepik (who used the surname Schoeppach at the time); his String Group, which included violinist Mark Feldman, cellist Erik Friedlander, bassist Mark Dresser, and drummer Michael Sarin; and his Quartet and Sextet, which included drummer Joey Baron. Also busy as a sideman, he could be heard during this period on recordings by Patricia Barber, Myra Melford, Anthony Braxton, and John Zorn (particularly the latter's original Masada quartet), among others, and the trumpeter has continued such collaborations through to the end of the new millennium's first decade.
Douglas began recording for RCA in 2000 with a tribute to jazz pianist Mary Williams titled Soul on Soul, a Down Beat Album of the Year award-winner that markedly enhanced the trumpeter's profile on the jazz scene. That same year A Thousand Evenings, featuring accordionist Guy Klucevsek, was released, followed by El Trilogy and Witness in 2001. It was with Witness that Douglas began to broaden his already eclectic scope, incorporating electronic-savvy improvisers like Jamie Saft and Ikue Mori, as he had first begun to investigate with the samplers of Anthony Coleman and Yuka Honda on 1997's Sanctuary. His next album, The Infinite, featured a more familiar sound but surprising covers of songs by Rufus Wainwright and Björk. Freak In, a more electronic-oriented effort, was released in 2003.
Douglas began his own Greenleaf Music label in 2003 and introduced it with the Mountain Passages album, released in early 2005 by a new aggregation, Dave Douglas & Nomad. Next came yet another new ensemble for the trumpeter, Keystone, which released an eponymous CD/DVD tribute to Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle produced by Douglas and David Torn, also in 2005. The Dave Douglas Quintet (featuring an electrified Uri Caine on Fender Rhodes) releases Meaning and Mystery and Live at the Jazz Standard arrived in 2006 and 2007, followed by the Keystone group's Moonshine in 2008. In 2009, Douglas returned with Spirit Moves by his latest grouping, the brass ensemble Brass Ecstasy.
In 2010, he collaborated with experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison to reinterpret the film Frankenstein for its 100th anniversary. Morrison recontextualized the film using new, archival, and distressed footage, while Douglas wrote an original score. The project was entitled Spark of Being. In addition to a soundtrack of the same name, Douglas and his Keystone group recorded two more albums and created a box set, though titles were available individually as well. Spark of Being: Expand was released in August of 2010, and featured the band playing extended but "straight" versions of the cues used in the soundtrack. The final volume, Spark of Being: Burst, included themes recorded during the original soundtrack sessions, but were never used in the film. It followed in September of that year.
In 2011, Douglas issued three "EPs" on Greenleaf Music: the first, entitled Rare Metals, showcased five tunes by Brass Ecstasy; the second, Orange Afternoons, showcased a quintet with Ravi Coltrane, Vijay Iyer, Linda Oh, and Marcus Gilmore. The final disc, Bad Mango, featured Douglas performing with So Percussion. The three titles were originally issued only as digital downloads, but were assembled for a physical CD release in box form in November. In 2012, Douglas released a new quintet offering entitled Be Still. The album was a collection of new tunes and hymns that featured vocalist Aoife O'Donovan along with the group's lineup of saxophonist Jon Irabagon, pianist Matt Mitchell, bassist Linda Oh, and drummer Rudy Royston. In 2013, Douglas returned with the same quintet, minus O'Donovan, for the album Time Travel.
Cuong Vu, trumpet
Cuong Vu is widely recognized by jazz critics as a leader of a generation of innovative musicians. A truly unique musical voice, Cuong has lent his trumpet playing talents to a wide range of artists including Pat Metheny, Laurie Anderson, David Bowie, Dave Douglas, Myra Melford, Cibo Matto, and Mitchell Froom.
As a youngster, Cuong's intense dedication and love for music led him to a full scholarship at the New England Conservatory of Music where he received his Bachelor of Music in Jazz studies with a distinction in performance. Transitioning from his studies in Boston, he moved to New York in 1994 and began his career actively leading various groups while touring extensively throughout the world. As a leader, Cuong has released five recordings, each making critics’ lists of the 10 best recordings of their respective years. Each record displays how he has carved out a distinctive sonic territory on the trumpet while blurring all stylistic borders while developing his own compositional aesthetic.
A recipient of numerous awards and honors, Cuong was awarded the Colbert Award for Excellence: The Downtown Arts Project Emerging Artist Award. As an assistant professor in jazz studies, he was recently awarded the University of Washington's prestigious Distinguished Teacher Award and is a Donald E. Petersen Endowed Fellow. In 2002 and 2006, Cuong was a recipient of the Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album as a member of the Pat Metheny Group. He’s been recognized as one of the top 50 young Jazz Artists in an article called “The New Masters” from the British magazine, “Classic CD” and in 2006 was named the Best International Jazz Artist by the Italian Jazz Critics’ Society. Amazon listed Vu’s “Come Play With Me” on their “The 100 Greatest Jazz Albums of All Time”.
Cuong is a "Yamaha Performing Artist", playing the Yamaha Custom YTR8310Z trumpet.
Ted Poor, drums
After graduating from the Eastman School of Music in 2003, drummer Ted Poor moved to New York City, where he has made a deep impression on the jazz and improvised music scene. Modern Drummer describes his playing as “adventurous, truly dynamic, and forward-thinking.” Jazz Review writes, “Ted has an uncanny ability to shape the music and a refreshingly unique, organic approach to playing the drums.” This unique approach has caught the ears of many of jazz’s most established musicians and quickly placed him amongst those drummers most in demand.
Ted has toured the world over and is a regular member of many bands, including those of Grammy award winning trumpeter Cuong Vu, guitarist Ben Monder, Bad Touch, and the Respect Sextet. Ted’s most recent project as a leader is called Mt. Varnum. Formed in August of 2011, Mt. Varnum reconciles a life-long love of deep swing with an equally earnest adoration of classic and indie rock. The band’s forthcoming debut release “Wounded Caroline” is a powerful and complete manifestation of that union.
As an in-demand sideman, Ted has appeared on dozens of recordings and has shared the stage with many world renowned artists such as Kurt Rosenwinkel, Bill Frisell, Mark Turner, Chris Potter, Kenny Werner, Maria Schneider, Aaron Parks and Ralph Alessi. As a guest soloist and educator, Poor has held residencies at, among others, the Eastman School of Music, Berklee College of Music, Cal Arts, Lawrence University, the University of Oregon, and the HR Big Band of Frankfurt. He is currently an Artist in Residence at the University of Washington in Seattle.