Dave Douglas & Elan Mehler – If There Are Mountains (2023)

Posted by Green on March 22, 2023
in jazz

320 | FLAC


The Dave Douglas and Elan Mehler Sextet mixes seasoned veterans with relative newcomers, setting poetry and specifically haiku into the context of improvising music. On If There Are Mountains, their first album as co-leaders, the trumpeter and pianist are joined by vocalist Dominique Eade, reedist John Gunther, bassist Simón Willson, and drummer Dayeon Seok. If There Are Mountains, previously released only to vinyl on Mehler’s label Newvelle Records, now sees a fresh release via Douglas’ own label Greenleaf Music. Douglas and Mehler composed all thirteen tracks between themselves, including four never-before-heard songs: Douglas’ “Arms Folded to the Moon”, “A Thicket of Summer Grass”, and “Life” plus Mehler’s “Barn’s Burnt Down”. While the spark for Douglas and Mehler’s collaboration around haiku goes back two decades to an early performance of Douglas’ “Village of No Bells”, this vocal-forward ensemble sounds undeniably fresh. The group presents unusual melodic relationships with concise expression, matching the form of the Japanese poetry found within the lyrics.

Dave Douglas, trumpet
Elan Mehler, piano
Dominique Eade, vocals
John Gunther, saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
Simón Willson, bass
Dayeon Seok, drums

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