When Dizzy Gillespie put his hat in the ring for President of the United States in 1964, he also offered to be the first African-American astronaut, just in case they couldn’t find anyone else. In making Dizzy Atmosphere, Dave Douglas’s tribute to the great trumpeter, composer and humanist, Douglas said he wanted to explore Dizzy’s experimental and wide open mind as well as the influence of his music.
This album shines a light on the whole legacy of Gillespie, one of America’s finest artists. The original music Douglas wrote swings and shimmers with a grace reminiscent of the great man. Dizzy Atmosphere also contains several imaginative arrangements of Gillespie compositions, including reinterpretations of two key Gillespie tunes “Manteca” and “Pickin’ the Cabbage.” Douglas’s band is also remarkable, featuring fellow trumpeter Dave Adewumi, recent winner of the Carmine Caruso Competition, along with pianist Fabian Almazan, guitarist Matt Stevens, bassist Carmen Rothwell, and drummer Joey Baron.
Like his previous explorations of the influential music of Mary Lou Williams, Wayne Shorter, and Booker Little, this album is sure to inspire listeners to hear the music of Dizzy Gillespie in a new and interesting ways.
released May 1, 2020
Dave Douglas, Dave Adewumi, trumpets
Matthew Stevens, guitar
Fabian Almazan, piano
Carmen Rothwell, bass
Joey Baron, drums
Producer: Dave Douglas
Recorded at The Bunker Studios, Brooklyn, NY on September 2, 2019.
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Tyler McDiarmid
Design by Lukas Frei
Photography by Anna Yatskevich
Compositions by Dave Douglas (Dave Douglas Music / BMI), except
“Manteca” composed by John “Dizzy” Gillespie, Gil Fuller, and Chano Pozo (Music Sale Corp. / ASCAP)
“Pickin’ The Cabbage” composed by John “Dizzy” Gillespie (Universal Music Corp. / ASCAP
Sheet music is available that includes all seven of the Douglas compositions on this album. Purchase the scores as PDFs here:
“This wonderfully-conceived and executed album closes out with "We Pray," from the pen of Douglas. It joins "Subterfuge" as the set's ballad tunes—introspective and beautiful straight-ahead jazz.”
All About Jazz ★★★★☆
“Douglas eschews basic cover arrangements and instead offers a mix of originals and reworked versions of Gillespie's songs that use the iconic trumpeter's music as a jumping off point.”
All Music ★★★★
“Trumpeter Dave Douglas takes a deep dive into the work of bebop great Dizzy Gillespie on his brand new album. Dizzy Atmospheres features new versions of Gillespie compositions plus new Gillespie-inspired tunes and is rightly described as a work of exploration as well as evocation.”
“By taking elements of Gillespie’s compositions but mostly creating fresh works of his own, and centering the rapport with his five bandmates, Douglas has created a loving tribute with its own liftoff.”
New York Times
“Trumpeter Dave Douglas’s solution is to dive into Gillespie’s music and rummage around for its contemporary relevance. Classic themes are alluded to, and the album captures Gillespie’s mischievous sense of humour and serious intent. But for the most part, Douglas’s album reflects on his formative influence through a jazz left-field lens.”
Financial Times ★★★★
“Like everything Douglas puts his hand to, it’s immaculately executed and bears the distinct stamp of his meticulous arranging.”
“These recordings are a wonderful example of inspired jazz - atmosphere! - and makes you want to dig Gillespie himself out of the archives once again.”
Jazz 'N' More (translated from German)
“Cloaked in Douglas’ own envelope-pushing conception… Gillespie’s legacy isn’t completely dissolved in this matrix, though that fact ends up saying more about Douglas’ brilliance than the subject of his homage.”
"As much homage as exploration, Dizzy Atmosphere addresses and expands upon Gillespie’s pioneering efforts with an enthusiasm that never resorts to mere imitation."
Point of Departure
“Dizzy Atmosphere gives Douglas opportunity to flex his trumpet chops. His clarion pealing and deft flurries are seamlessly abetted by Adewumi, supplementing the groove on the melodic glide of “Cadillac” and the semi-spiritual closer “We Pray.” A little Dizzy, but clear-headed Douglas through and through.”
“The album emerges as a rounded work, flowing smoothly from beginning to end, and revalidates Douglas' position as one of the most active guys in jazz today, who also continues to create stimulating projects and reinvent himself successfully. ... This new formation has the potential to be his next great regular band. And it promises top-notch music.”
El Pais (translated from Spanish)
“This is a fine tribute to one of the greats of jazz led by one of today’s major figures.”
London Jazz News
"... this resplendent work absorbs Dizzy’s rich musical legacy to open up contemporary fresh paths."
“The upshot is unmistakably a Douglas album, with his love of mixing surging rhythms, angular lines and sections that float by like white clouds across a summer sky.”
Sydney Morning Herald ★★★½☆
"Trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas practically defines the "new mainstream" in that he spans styles and categories even as he tends to consistently present a trumpet voice that operates in a clarion post-bop area. How marvelous, then, to hear him present a young trumpeter in David Adewumi as his equal in this tribute to the greatest of modern jazz horn players. Douglas balances the program by using veteran drummer Joey Baron along with younger players: Fabian Almazan on piano, guitarist Matt Stevens, and bassist Carmen Rothwell. They interpret the Afro-Cuban "Manteca" and the rare "Pickin' the Cabbage", using contrapuntal rhythm on the former and a jump band puck on the latter.”
PopMatters, Best 20 Jazz Albums of 2020
“Dizzy Atmosphere: Dizzy Gillespie at Zero Gravity brilliantly reinterprets and renews Gillespie’s music.”
Free Jazz Blog ★★★★