Mountain Passages

Trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas may well be the hardest working man in jazz.

Trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas may well be the hardest working man in jazz. With this disc, he introduces his own record label, Greenleaf, and adds yet another band, the excellent Nomad—alto sax player/clarinetist Michael Moore, cellist Peggy Lee, tuba player Marcus Rojas and drummer Dylan van der Schyff—to his roster of current projects. This outing finds Douglas inspired by the experience of visiting mountains (specifically, northern Italy's Dolomite range) and reacting to the recent death of his father, himself an inveterate mountain runner. Certainly, a sense of joy infuses the entire album, whether it's in the tipsy giddiness of "Twelve Degrees Proof" (whose rumbling tuba evokes the sounds of Romany brass bands), the exhilaratingly spacious "Summit Joy" or even in the introspection of "North Point Memorial," written in memory of the elder Douglas. The tunes here are as gorgeous, intelligent and thought-provoking as ever, and Douglas' fans wouldn't have it any other way.—AT