GRAMMY® award-winning producer, composer, trombonist and arranger Doug Beavers presents Luna, his sixth leader recording. Esteemed “master of transformative artistry” (Raul da Gama, Latin Jazz Net), Beavers is known widely as a leading trombonist of his time, as well as a member of the multi-GRAMMY® award-winning ensemble Spanish Harlem Orchestra. His critically-received 2020 predecessor Sol explored a dozen original compositions which blended salsa with styles of Afro-Latin, R&B and Soul. Luna continues an expedition across a terrain of similar rhythmic styles, this time infused predominantly with Latin Jazz.
In that regard, Luna is both a sonic counterbalance to Sol as well as a conceptual one—Luna, the moon, is the celestial opposite to the sun. In 2021, Chamber Music America commissioned the Luna Suite,the first half of the record, through a New Jazz Works grant funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Beavers composed the suite while taking a residency in Sitges, Spain along the Mediterranean Sea.
The ocean’s melodic inspiration is referenced throughout Luna, including the aptly-named “Tidal”, an up-tempo parade for Beavers’ horn ensemble buoyed by modern harmonic edges of pianist Gabriel Chakarji. The tune serves as a proper introduction to the album’s joyous sensations, while also toying with ideas of gravitational interaction between the Sun, Moon and Earth. As Michael Ambrosino aptly observes in the album liner notes, the arrangement incorporates “wave after wave of layered intention.”
Beavers continues to unearth supernatural imagery with “Reflejo del Sol”, once more reminding us of Luna’s precursor, while “Multicolores” also takes a page from the Nuyorican salsa dura components sitting at the heart of Sol. Featuring the potent lyricism of flutist-vocalist Jeremy Bosch, the spirited tune accentuates a concept near and dear to Doug Beavers: that versatility and variety are both beautiful and transcendent. Title track “Luna” complements this notion with a more whimsical design sketched in the Cuban bolero format.
In the meantime, the second half of Luna, what Beavers calls “Phase 2”, was sourced at home, amid sporadic and occasional moments of pause in his bustling career in New York’s music scene. The trombonist’s precise arranging tendencies continue to shine in varying degrees here, which titans Joe Locke, Robby Ameen and Paul Bollenback augment on the refined groove “Sea.”
The 11-track collection features all original compositions with the exception of “Flor de Lis”, where Beavers unites an entourage of trombonists Max Seigel, Conrad Herwig and Francisco Torres for a reimagination of the timeless 1976 Brazilian classic. The album swirls romantically on its finale “Sands of Time” through the brilliant, razor-sharp rhythmic dexterity of percussionists Luisito Quintero and Robby Ameen who ride in the luscious company of bassist Luques Curtis’ rock solid tumbao. As the tune progresses, an exquisite gospel offering from vocalist Ada Dyer signals that the end is near, affirmed by the sign-off of trombones and french horns and casting listeners into repose.
“Working in this context, I was able to get more personal with the music on Luna,” Beavers shared in a statement, referring to the Latin Jazz lens in which Luna gestated. At once sensitive, adventurous, soulful and meditative, Luna culminates the vast inner workings of a master composer of boundless sensibility and epic ambition.
More about DOUG BEAVERS 2019 GRAMMY® Winner and 2023 GRAMMY® Nominee (Producer, Spanish Harlem Orchestra) Doug Beavers has been hailed by critics and fellow musicians as a leading trombonist of his generation, producer, composer and “an arranger of the first-class” (Harvey Siders, JazzTimes).
After moving to New York and receiving his Master’s Degree in Composition from the Manhattan School of Music in 2002, he was catapulted to international significance when he was discovered by NEA Jazz Master Eddie Palmieri to transcribe and arrange the complete repertoire from his historic La Perfecta group of the 1960s. He won his first GRAMMY® Award with Palmieri for Listen Here in 2006 (Concord Picante), an album which featured such jazz royalties as Michael Brecker, Nicholas Payton, Christian McBridge and John Scofield.
Doug Beavers has since went on to perform, arrange and record for Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Christian McBridge, Mingus Big Band, Ruben Blades, Tipica ‘73, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Paul Simon, Willie Colón, Joe Locke, Tom Harrell Bob Mintzer, Dave Liebman, Kurt Elling and countless others. As a leader, he has released five critically acclaimed albums; his 2017 releaseArt of the Arrangement (Artistshare) earned a nomination for the 60th Annual GRAMMY® Awards. His sixth recording, Luna, is due out June 30, 2023, via his own hybrid record label and production house, Circle 9, which Beavers launched in 2020.
Doug Beavers is a Buffet Crampon USA artist performing on Antoine Courtois Trombones and endorses Eargasm Earplugs. He serves on the advisory board for Riverview Jazz, a Jersey City-based 501(c)(3) organization producing over 100 concerts a year in Hudson County, NJ and surrounding areas. Beavers is currently on the faculty at The College of New Jersey, teaching Jazz Ensemble and Audio Recording & Production, and is a 2021 Chamber Music America “New Jazz Works” Grantee, funded by the Doris Duke Foundation.