With files from Matt Merewitz & Stephen Buono

Anyone who has followed the career of trumpeter Dave Douglas, knows that he has been strongly influenced by and paid his own tributes to a wide range of music – from Lester Bowie to Mary Lou Williams to Joni Mitchell to Booker Little to Don Cherry and Wayne Shorter. However, few know of his admiration for the late clarinetist and erstwhile saxophonist Jimmy Giuffre. Douglas, like Giuffre, constantly reinvents himself, never allowing himself to be defined by one project or association.

Similarly, Douglas’ main collaborator in Riverside, Canadian saxophonist Chet Doxas has led a career of great variety – from touring with Canadian pop and folk singers Sam Roberts and Rufus Wainwright to leading bands with Canada’s leading jazz players such as Oliver Jones and Guido Basso as well as stints with American jazz stars Maria Schneider, Joe Lovano, Jason Moran, and Bill Stewart.

The quartet, co-led by Douglas, on trumpet, and Doxas, on clarinet and tenor saxophone, has a rhythm section comprised of Steve Swallow (a former member of the Jimmy Giuffre 3) on electric bass and Jim Doxas (Chet’s brother and frequent collaborator) on drums. Riverside blends a love for improvised music, bluegrass, sacred hymns and Appalachian music to create an aesthetic rooted in both Americana and jazz.

As it turned out, Chet Doxas shared a love and mutual admiration for Giuffre’s work. Unbeknownst to Doxas, Douglas had previously worked on charts for a Giuffre-inspired project that was never recorded. After meeting at the Banff Centre when Douglas was Director, Doxas invited him to play, and they found their shared interest to be a perfect match.

Douglas says, “Chet’s such a strong player on tenor sax and clarinet, when he asked me if I was interested in Giuffre I was floored. I had a whole book of work dedicated to the early Giuffre trios. Playing it with Steve, Chet, and Jim really brought it alive in a wonderful way.”

“The name Riverside represents the image of the music we both brought to the table,” says Doxas. Douglas adds, “The name references nature – like standing in the mud down by the river – that relaxed and organic quality in folk music and improvisation.”


Carla Bley, Jazz pianist and renowned composer will join Riverside for a historic concert
Photo: Peter Purgar

“When Jimmy, Paul Bley and I made music together in the 60’s,” Swallow recounts, “it didn’t occur to us that it would reverberate over decades. Dave, Chet and Jim are doing exactly what we were doing back then: looking for ways to move music into new places. Nothing much has changed, and yet it’s all new again.”

Regarded as one of the world’s greatest jazz pianists and composers, Carla Bley will be joining Riverside for the Montreal performance at the Jazz Fest. To pursue her deep love of jazz, Carla worked as a cigarette girl and cloakroom attendant in jazz clubs – just to lean by listening to her mentors.

Carla Bley, married to bassist Steve Swallow, has performed with the world’s pre-eminent jazz musicians in addition to having her own small groups and big band jazz orchestras. She has not only composed and performed with duos, trios, quartets and orchestras; Carla has also managed WATT, her own jazz record label.

The July 6 concert at Salle Ludger-Duvernay in the Monument-National building is sure to be a festival highlight. For tickets: www.monumentnational.com or call 514-871-2224.

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