on 28 March 2004
The emergence of Dave Douglas of one of the most significant developments in Jazz during the 1990's and this disc represents, for me, his apogee. The other reviewer has hit the nail right on the head - this is an extension of Miles' "Fille de Kilamanjaro", albeit with a more contemporary approach to rhythm and meter. Without doubt, this is a disc that yields new secrets with each listening and represents a high point in the albums produced by RCA. Caine contributes some amazing electric piano to this otherwise acoustic group and the rhythm section's ability to constantly shift gear behind the leader's lyrical trumpet marked this out as one of the best jazz records in the last few years. It is easily up there with Wayne Shorter's "Footprints, live."
Those unfamiliar with Douglas' stellar work would be recommended to start here, although those wishing to acquire something more orthodox may prefer the tribute to Mary Lou Williams, "Soul on Soul." Although some of his more experimental work has earned wider recognition, it is a more "traditional" CD such as this where Dave Douglas demonstrates his true mettle. The opening track shows just what can be done with a pop song and even the track by Bjork ( a singer that, to paraphase Cecil Taylor comments about another chanteuse, sounds so bad that she ought to be shot), is transformed into a great jazz vehicle. This record is so good, Douglas can also be forgiven for quoting "Boplicity" within his own composition "Penelope."
Douglas continues to develop as an original composer.
To summarise, "The Infinite Dave Douglas" takes Miles' late 60's Quintet as a model with which to prove that there is still plenty of mileage within "straight ahead" jazz canon. This is surely destined to be a classic and five stars do not do it enough justice. A fantastic record.