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Dave Douglas Quintet

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This is the third band trumpeter Dave Douglas has brought to town in a little over a year--the way he jumps from project to project would be exasperating if each group weren't so fully realized. His eponymous quintet is where he shows off his straight-jazz chops, and Meaning and Mystery (Greenleaf), which came out earlier this month, is the best of its three albums. That's thanks in no small part to a change in the group's lineup: new saxophonist Donny McCaslin, a youngish journeyman who's turned up in a multitude of New York ensembles since making a name for himself with vibist Gary Burton, tops his predecessor, Chris Potter, by combining rhythmically thrilling phrasing with a tight, blocky tone that's as tough as granite. With his stuttery solo on "Elk's Club" he builds momentum even while the rest of the band is frustrating it, first clambering over a series of divots dug by the rhythm section and then picking up speed as he hits open ground. Miles Davis's classic quintet, with its open, modal approach, is Douglas's main template here, but even in this purist-friendly context the trumpeter treats nothing as sacrosanct--his history-spanning technique and boldly original compositions build on tradition rather than simply adhere to it. Though Douglas assembles the tunes' structures with plenty of room for improvisation, his composed themes are supremely catchy, not just placeholders between solos. And the band tears into ballads and up-tempo numbers with equal vigor, constantly finding fresh ways to explore the material. Pianist Uri Caine crafts gorgeous, deceptively simple harmonies on the Fender Rhodes, and bassist James Genus and drummer Clarence Penn play with the hard-swinging postbop grooves like putty--in their hands even the most complex patterns become endlessly malleable, molded into new shapes on virtually every pass. See also Saturday. Fri 4/28, 9 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, 773-878-5552, $15.

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