Dave Douglas has suddenly emerged as the most talked-about (not hyped, talked about) trumpeter to emerge in jazz since Wynton Marsalis, even though almost nothing is known about him personally. The dedications in his CD booklets, to such cultural theorists as Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, and Noam Chomsky, suggest a very serious fellow. A capsule bio on his debut album, Parallel Worlds (recorded in 1993, for Soul Note), tells us only that he has played with an impressive array of musicians (not all of them fellow Lower East Side experimentalists) and that he briefly attended both the Berklee School of Music and the New England Conservatory before earning his undergraduate degree through an independent studies program at NYU. But nowhere is there a clue to so much as his birthplace or exact age.
This lack of biographical information is frustrating, because hardly a month goes by anymore that he doesn't turn up on another CD destined to be counted among this decade's landmarks—Parallel Worlds and In Our Lifetime, Uri Caine's Toys, Myra Melford's The Same River, Twice, Ned Rothenberg's Power Lines, and John Zorn's Vav (the sixth in the alto saxophonist and composer's ongoing series of harmolodic horas, with the quartet he calls Masada). Not counting the cooperative New and Used, Douglas fronts four bands. These include the three-horn sextet featured on In Our Lifetime, and the string group, with violin, cello, and double bass, on Parallel Worlds and Five. There is also his Tiny Bell Trio, whose