Doug Wilde – The Sixth Dimension (ENG review)

Self Relesead – Street date July 26th 2024
Doug Wilde – The Sixth Dimension

The approach of this album initially amused me greatly. Indeed, this composer, with a keen sense of melody, creates music using a non-conventional tonal system. Keyboardist and composer Doug Wilde has a long history of creating memorable and unique music, often effortlessly integrating complex harmonic and rhythmic materials—most notably with Manteca (described as “one of the most accomplished and original contemporary music artists” by Jazz Times Magazine). The music created for his new recording, “The Sixth Dimension,” goes even further (or perhaps much further), taking us into a harmonic world rarely used in a jazz context.

It’s evident that it’s not just the music that supports this; I suspect that Doug Wilde, like me, is a fan of genre films, whether fantastic or perhaps horror, offering this style of music under the title of this album. These pieces, certainly jazz and very expressive, would perfectly delight genre film directors, as the images that come to mind would perfectly match this form of art!

The music in this recording was created using six-note scales—also known as hexachords. A different six-note scale was selected for each of the ten pieces in this recording. Except for the improvised solos, no other harmonic material was used. But it must be acknowledged that this album is served by particularly interesting musicians in their approach and the quality of their interpretation: Doug Wilde on keyboards and compositions, Colleen Allen on saxophones and bass clarinet, James Ervin on trumpet and flugelhorn, Paul Novotny on electric and acoustic bass (tracks 1-4), Henry Heillig on electric and acoustic bass (tracks 7-9), and Charlie Cooley on drums. The musical arrangements are also quite interesting; they contribute to a good understanding of the entire work in which one can feel Doug Wilde’s various musical influences, allowing us to enter his universe through the grand entrance.

Wilde’s intention is not necessarily to write atonal or dissonant music, but rather to use imposed limitations to inspire new directions—redirecting creativity! There’s a good chance that the listener will be intrigued, transported, and perhaps moved by this musical dimension. Jazz is a musical language that has always been evolving, eager to blend with or borrow from other traditions.

In many ways, this music can delicately send shivers down your spine if you play along with these notes that sometimes bring a form of anxiety or questioning. This excellent album definitely awakens the cinephile in me; it’s impossible not to. Images come to mind from the 70s and 80s, and directors like Dario Argento, Carpenter, Romero, and many others would have been delighted to work with such an artist capable of experiments like this.

Entering the universe of this album may not be easy for everyone, but in the end, those who appreciate it will surely agree with us in validating it as one of our “Essentials,” thus bringing it the recognition it deserves.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, July 7th 2024

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