Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy | Jazz Showcase | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy Recommended Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Fri., June 26, 8 & 10 p.m., Sat., June 27, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., June 28, 4, 8 & 10 p.m. 2009

Trumpeter Dave Douglas obviously modeled his quintet Brass Ecstasy after Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, but it’s more than just a tribute to Bowie’s band—Douglas uses Brass Ecstasy’s repertoire to salute several trumpeters who’ve inspired him and to reaffirm his commitment to an ensemble-oriented style of jazz that privileges carefully assembled arrangements over individual showboating. The group’s terrific debut, Spirit Moves (Greenleaf), includes homages to horn men Enrico Rava and Fats Navarro, and the whole album is a love letter to brass instruments and the things they can do. Like Bowie’s band, Brass Ecstasy inventively tackles some iconic nonjazz tunes, like “Mister Pitiful” by Otis Redding and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by Hank Williams—there’s also a nice spin on Rufus Wainwright’s mournful “This Love Affair” that transforms it into a swaggering New Orleans funeral dirge. Two of the pieces had their debuts here last year, as part of a suite commissioned by the Chicago Jazz Festival. Douglas, Marcus Rojas (tuba), and Brass Fantasy alums Luis Bonilla (trombone) and Vincent Chancey (French horn) play lines that fit together like puzzle pieces, both stoked and corralled by masterful drummer Nasheet Waits; though each contributes lovely solos and there’s plenty of dazzling foreground-to-background movement, their devotion to a group sound is what really resonates. —Peter Margasak

Price: $25

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