is a prolific trumpeter, composer, and educator from New York City known for the stylistic breadth of his work, the lyricism and wide-ranging curiosity of his music, and for keeping a diverse set of ensembles and projects active simultaneously.
His unique contributions to improvised music have garnered distinguished recognition, including a Doris Duke Artist Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Aaron Copland award, and two Grammy Award nominations. Douglas’ career spans more than 60 unique original recordings as a leader and more than 500 published works. His current ensembles include: Dave Douglas Quintet; Sound Prints, a quintet co-led with saxophonist Joe Lovano; OVERCOME, an ensemble featuring vocalists Fay Victor and Camila Meza, as well as Ryan Keberle, Jorge Roeder, and Rudy Royston; UPLIFT, a sextet including bassist Bill Laswell; Present Joys, a longstanding duo with pianist Uri Caine which recently added Andrew Cyrille as third member for a 2019 recording; High Risk, an electronic ensemble with Shigeto, Jonathan Maron, and Ian Chang; ENGAGE, a sextet with Jeff Parker, Tomeka Reid, Anna Webber, Nick Dunston, and Kate Gentile; Marching Music, a quartet featuring Rafiq Bhatia, Melvin Gibbs, and Sim Cain; Dizzy Atmosphere: Dizzy Gillespie in Zero Gravity featuring Dave Adewumi, Matthew Stevens, Fabian Almazan, Carmen Rothwell, and Joey Baron. Douglas is often engaged in special projects which include big bands, tributes, and multi-trumpet ensembles, such as Dizzy Atmosphere.
As a composer, Douglas has received commissions from a variety of organizations including the Trisha Brown Dance Company, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Essen Philharmonie, The Library of Congress, Stanford University, and Monash Art Ensemble. The American chamber orchestra Alarm Will Sound recently premiered his piece Facts and Fictions.
Douglas has held several posts as an educator and programmer. From 2002 to 2012, he served as artistic director of the Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music at the Banff Centre in Canada. He is a co-founder and president of the Festival of New Trumpet Music, which celebrated its 17th anniversary in 2020. He is currently on the faculty at Mannes School of Music and The New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music. He was the Artistic Director of the Bergamo Jazz Festival for four years ending in 2019.
In 2005 Douglas founded Greenleaf Music, an umbrella company for his recordings, sheet music, podcast, as well as the music of other artists in the modern jazz idiom. Greenleaf Music has produced over 80 releases and celebrated its fifteenth year in 2020. In addition to hosting a podcast featuring engaging interviews with more than 100 creative artists, Greenleaf Music recently joined Bandcamp for Labels and is a pioneering independent music platform with a strong subscription model featuring hours of exclusive content.
Since 2007, Elan Mehler has released eleven albums as a leader, featuring musicians such as Bill Frisell, Dave Douglas, Becca Stevens, Francisco Mela and Tony Scherr. He's released records on Brownswood Recordings out of London, Challenge Records out of Amsterdam and Newvelle Records in NYC.
In 2016, Elan founded Newvelle Records with partner Jean-Christophe Morisseau. He has since produced over 50 records featuring musicians from the pinnacle of the jazz world including: Jack DeJohnette, John Patitucci, Rufus Reid, Lionel Loueke, Skuli Sverrisson and many more. 2020 featured a new project of New Orleans music with legends Irma Thomas, Little Freddie King, Ellis Marsalis and Jon Cleary. In 2021 Elan produced a massive tribute to the much beloved pianist/composer Frank Kimbrough. The resulting 5 1/2 hour long album featured 68 musicians and ranked #2 on Slate's "top 10 records of 2021." 2022 features the release of the "Renewal Collection" featuring more of Jazz's luminaries, including Dave Liebman, Michael Blake, Nadje Noorduis, Francisco Mela, Tony Scherr, Ben Monder and Fred Hersch.
Through Newvelle Records Elan has commissioned and produced a number of events around the world including many concerts including the week long Jazz Festival “Newvelle Live” in 2019, a short story from acclaimed novelist Douglas Kennedy and a short film, "Listening In," about pianist and educator Billy Lester. A film about the Newvelle New Orleans Collection, directed and produced by Ben Chace, was premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival.
“Mehler’s touch is as nuanced as Bill Evans’s, and his phrasing draws on both jazz and classical music without directly importing licks from either. The subdued certainties of his playing bring a crowded room to total silence." — John Fordham, The Guardian