Recorded in June 2003 during the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, using the facilities of the Music & Sound Program at The Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta, Canada.
Recorded during Dave Douglas' residence as director of the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music in Banff, Alberta, Bow River Falls finds the trumpeter among an intimate small group of his faculty peers, including clarinetist Louis Sclavis, cellist Peggy Lee, and drummer/laptop musician Dylan van der Schyff. Clearly inspired by the epic natural beauty of Banff, Douglas and his fellow musicians create atmospheric and organic pieces that reference '60s free jazz and contemporary classical chamber music. While Douglas' burnished trumpet sigh is the focal point, this is truly a group effort that often calls to mind iconic efforts by Ornette Coleman and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. To these ends, cuts like "Dark Water" and the title track find Sclavis and Douglas utilizing their instruments in unconventional ways, summoning growls, bleeps, and pinched squelches. Similarly, Lee's cello fluctuates between darkly sonorous long tones and high-pitched whines. The laptop inclusions of van der Schyff were done live in the studio and have an organic quality, blending gurgling white noise, static, and other visceral found sounds with his sensitive percussion interplay. Bow River Falls is a highly rewarding listen and ranks with the best of Douglas' recordings.
-Matt Collar (All Music Guide)
========= from the cover ==========
So little can be said about music without trampling it underfoot. In music we escape the real world. For as long as the music lasts we live in the sound, in a world that has no physical existence. Conversely, music also brings us more into the world by pointing out the mysteries in life and human experience. Why are we here? What are our relationships to each other? How do we handle ourselves? What is universal truth? I feel that what can be said about music merely helps to put it in a context. Here is some information about the human side of this recording, and about how Bow River Falls came about.
This was a true meeting of musicians. First brought together as a quartet by Ken Pickering at the Vancouver Jazz Festival in 1998, each of us subsequently met up in various situations, none documented on record. Louis invited me a few times to join his remarkable quintet in France. Peggy and Dylan, central to the vital creative music scene in Vancouver, both joined a project that I call Mountain Passages. Our first gig involved a hike to 9,000 feet in the Italian Dolomites. Needless to say, there was no recording equipment available.
When pianist Kenny Werner offered me the job as director of the Banff Workshop in 2002, Peggy, and Dylan were the first two musicians I called to join the faculty. It was amazing to spend a few weeks with them and their sons Curtis and Dexter in the dry mountain air of Banff National Park. With the generous help of the French consulate, we were also able to bring Louis to participate in the workshop.
One of the most unexpected surprises at Banff is the existence, within all that wild-ness (bears, elk, etc.), of a state of the art recording studio. With the assistance of Banff Audio Department, we took an afternoon to put this recording together.
It was agreed that all of us would contribute compositions and conceptions, making the project truly a cooperative effort. Though we did rehearse, these readings of each other's pieces retain a comfortable, spontaneous feeling. The instrumentation gave us an opportunity to add one of my favorite pieces by the great Steve Lacy, the catchy and infectious Blinks. Dylan's addition of laptop computer to his drum kit on several pieces seems to blend naturally with the acoustic instruments, while creating an otherworldly atmosphere on the title track, on Window, and elsewhere.
Some of these pieces appear elsewhere in our discographies - for me, that heightens the uniqueness of this meeting. From disparate parts of the globe, united in a remote location, for a few hours, the language of music overcomes all boundaries in communication.
Music speaks louder than words.
-Dave Douglas May 2004