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Twelve pieces for positive action in 2018
Dave Douglas, Joe Lovano, Mary Halvorson, Julian Lage, Bill Laswell, Ian Chang
All hands on deck. It’s imperative that all of us, together, work for positive change in this challenging moment. 2018 is a crucial year in the history of equality and democracy in our country and around the globe. It’s easy to be demoralized by the blizzard of news. UPLIFT began as a reminder - to myself - to stay positive, stay active, and stay engaged. I hope this message reaches others through this music. Each monthly release will be devoted to a major issue of concern for this world and its people: voting rights, racial equality, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, welcoming immigrants, wealth equality, diplomacy, science and education, humanities and culture, sensible gun laws, love of our environment and our culture, love for each other. Peace.
Thankfully, I'm not the only one engaged in this sort of outreach. Indeed, I hope that every artist, every individual, uses their work to shout out about positive change and activism during this year and beyond. This is my small contribution: to draw attention to the good people and organizations doing so much heavy lifting on these issues.
The players in this ensemble were chosen for their brilliance as improvisers, but also for their attention to community. Each of these musicians is devoted to playing a role in the music within the music, to being part of a social structure in creating a whole music. I’m grateful to each of them for lending their ears and their profound intuition for music.
Add your voice. Engage in your local community and in local sources of information and news. I will be making personal contributions to all of the organizations mentioned each month. I hope you will, too. Call your representatives. Run for office. Speak up. All hands on deck.
released January 8, 2018
Dave Douglas, trumpet
Joe Lovano, tenor saxophone, alto clarinet, alto flute, mezzo soprano sax
Mary Halvorson, guitar
Julian Lage, guitar
Bill Laswell, bass
Ian Chang, drums and electronics
Recorded and mixed by Tyler McDiarmid at Orange Music Sound Studio in Orange, NJ on December 11, 2017.
Video and photography shot by Geoff Countryman
Artwork by Yoko Yamabe at Randesign
"In 2018, Douglas made a timely return to music written in response to issues related to human rights. In the past, his activism has generated some of his most compelling music, and UPLIFT is no exception. It bristles with electricity, thanks to the presence of guitarists Mary Halvorson and Julian Lage, and bassist Bill Laswell, and stands apart in Lovano's discography as a rare pairing of the saxophonsit with a coprs of sonic adventurers.” - Downbeat ★★★★
“The album could also have been subtitled Twelve Templates for Thrilling Improvising: the options are wide open and brilliantly exploited. While Lovano has been a long-term sparring partner and slightly earthier foil to Douglas's quicksilver musical mind, a particular fascination comes from the two guitarists' interaction against the juddering, delightfully unconventional rhythm section of Laswell and Chang.” - Sydney Morning Herald ★★★★½
"Douglas wrote UPLIFT as an assessment of, and prescription for, the current political climate of the United States. You can hear all the turmoil, zeal, and soul-searching that’s playing out across the country in every measure. The message comes across with a subtle radicality, like Christ’s preaching of the Good News across Galilee.” – JazzTimes
“The sextet’s inspiring character arises to the forefront on the closing title, the spry, delightfully melodic “Truth is Truth,” where the group’s organization and solidarity is spot-on and encompassing. With UPLIFT, Douglas proves again why he’s one of the best composers, band leaders and jazz instigators. Through his music on UPLIFT, Douglas expresses an imperative message: positive action is needed and necessary.” - Audiophile Audition ★★★★
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