Searching for their European roots, for an imaginary homeland they never really had, but they all feel a musical and emotional affiliation with, four American musicians met to create an album full of atmospheric density.
On "Charms of the Night Sky" the trumpeter and composer from New York, Dave Douglas, and the members of his ensemble interpret Eastern European songs in their very own and individual language. Thus was the music the trumpeter played in coffee houses in the Village to earn some money when he came to New York. Thus he made his very first experiences in the Big Apple.
Sighing melodies of the gypsies as in the introductional cadenca of Douglas' Rock in thy Soul brilliantly played by the violinist Mark Feldman meet with jazzlike improvisations as to be heard on Decafinata, one of the compositions of the accordion player Guy Klucevsek, and circus music as the fourth track of the album: Facing West, another composition of bandleader Dave Douglas in an odd-meter 11/4 time.
Charms of the Night Sky is the transformation of the slavic mentality into sound: mourning combines with lightness, agony with irony. Seemingly out of this concept but actually inside is Little One, a tune by Herbie Hancock. Because of the instrumentation and interpretation of the standard Douglas' hommage to one of the greatest jazz pianists fits harmonically into the overall picture of the recording; Moreover the arrangement fills the song with new life.
For the ensemble which has especially been put together for this recording, Dave Douglas chose the classical line-up of the gypsies. Remaining in the chamber music he resigns jazz-instruments like piano and drums. All of his sidemen are experienced musicians, coming from various fields: Mark Feldman, a solo player who is known for his cooperation with John Zorn and Uri Caine; Guy Klucevsek, whose musical home can be found both in the New Music and in the improvisation, and finally Greg Cohen who already plucked the bass strings for Tom Waits.
Music speaks for itself. Too often in the arts there's this need to put some kind of big meaning on things, and I think the meaning is the work itself, the rising star of the New York jazz scene, whose picture is shown on the front cover of the Jazziz magazine in March 1998, explains in an interview and proofs with the recording of Charms of the Night Sky once more that he is right.
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