New England based trumpeter/composer Douglas Olsen is one of those highly accomplished musical forces who’s been biding his time behind the scenes and as a largely regional sensation – but that all changes with the thoughtful compositions and blistering horn solos he brings to 2 Cents, his debut ensemble album under his own name.
It’s telling that among his credits, a legend like Aretha Franklin comes AFTER much lesser known acts like the John Allmark Jazz Orchestra and Felipe Salles’ Interconnections Ensemble, as if to say, his large ensemble affiliations have had more of an impact on his developing solo artistry than a glitzy name on his resume. Those many big band and Latin jazz ensemble affiliations pave the way for Olsen to create a collection that is an instant classic, launching with the sizzling, soulful swing taking flight on “Tailwind” and romping through a set of spirited, improvisation-rich originals and colorful twists and turns on Latin-inflected tunes by Dizzy Gillespie (the sexy, high hat driven jam “Algo Bueno”), Gendrickson Mena Diaz (the sultry yet spicy “Miles Rumba”) and Fats Navarro’s irrepressible “Boperation.”
Olsen himself contributes to the Latin vibe on the set with the dreamy ballad “Una Para Ti” and spotlights his hard bop leanings with the quick paced, perfectly titled “’Rat-Race.” While Olsen allows himself ample time to strut his trumpet soloing chops, his ensemble of Dino Govoni (tenor and alto sax), Angel Subero (trombone and guiro), Yaure Muniz (trumpet), Tucker Antell (tenor sax), Dave Zinno (bass), Mark Walker (drums) and Ernesto Diaz (congas) deserves loads of credit for keeping every groove hopping and every harmonic nuance fresh and vibrant.
Now that Olsen has contributed his 2 Cents to the jazz conversation, here’s hoping he’s got more spare change in the future.