Volume 3 of influential trumpeter Dave Douglas's "Portable Series" casts yet another perspective of the artist's resiliency and broad vernacular. The premise behind the three volumes, featuring different ensembles is based on informal gatherings, hearkening back to the olden days where musicians would align for pick-up sessions. Otherwise, Bad Mango is not simply a high-octane bashing session, but offers a polytonal soundscape, spanning a diverse mix that is a nicely balanced package containing equal parts jazz and world music. Neither genre supersedes the other, although an indigenous setting is laid out via the percussionists' multifunctional approach to the program.
A highly musical endeavor, the percussionists' shade and color the festivities by integrating small implements and mallet instruments to complement traditional drumming and electronics treatments. And Douglas's horn voicings often take on vocal characteristics amid a few blazing intersections and soaring flurries. Yet "One Shot" offers a prismatic view of the musicians' resourcefulness and wealth of ideas. With a few nods to the blues, Douglas's theme-building exercises ride above a dirge-like foundation, tinted with tribal implications and disparate instruments. It's a cunning arrangement, sprinkled with subtle dynamics as they work from the perimeter and morph the music into an epicenter of sorts. With surging lines and complexly designed rhythmic grooves, the band also transmits an orchestral demeanor, abetted by the trumpeter's dark and at times spacey phrasings.
Douglas is a heralded musician, substantiated by a hefty and widely acclaimed discography and Bad Mango proposes a good time-was-had-by-all state of being. Modern, cutting-edge, yet not overly cerebral, the artists bridge the gap between variable musical worlds, while maintaining a vastly entertaining form-factor throughout.