Prolific bassist, composer and bandleader Dezron Douglas, who has stunned audiences with his virtuosity for nearly two decades, is proud to announce the January 11th release of Black Lion, featuring his eponymously named sextet. After releasing six albums as a leader, including his well received live recording Dezron Douglas: Live at Smalls (★★★★, Downbeat Magazine), Douglas has embarked on his most personal and creative project yet with the Black Lion’s debut studio recording.
This six-track EP is presented by a collection of like-minded – both musically and spiritually – friends and associates, who work to display the visions and perspectives of the acclaimed bassist. Featuring Stacy Dillard and Lummie Spann on saxophones, Josh Evans on trumpet, David Bryant and Willerm Delisfort on piano and organ and Jeremy “BEAN” Clemons on drums, Black Lion was created to give Dezron the opportunity to lead a band with a personal story; it’s his vision, no frills attached. After years of performing live exclusively, Dezron Douglas is excited to gift his following with a studio recording – a message – that will be there throughout the continuum time of space. Dezron plans to release a full length album by the end of 2019.
With a keen focus on authenticity, Black Lion is true a snapshot of what goes on behind the scenes. Everything is honest – direct from his mind, direct from his heart and every one of his ideas is given the opportunity to shine. The six-track collection kicks off with “Uhuru Vibrations” – a tune that highlights the discourse between today’s culture and black pride. While “Negroidius Maximus” is an ode to drummer Neal Smith, who Douglas had the pleasure of working alongside in Cyrus Chestnut’s Trio for seven years, “Alexis” was written for harpist Brandee Younger. Douglas and Younger have been associated with each other, both musically and personally, for almost 20 years and “Alexis” is centered around both the inner and outer beauty of a woman. “Great Provider” is a reggae tune Douglas wrote in dedication to and in appreciation of God. Consequent to graduating from college, Douglas had many moments of realization and self meditation. One particular moment experienced by the bassist during this period is signified on the lead single “Soulris” – Douglas heard the bassline in his head, and upon opening his eyes, his thoughts became clear – “I just let my pen do the listening as my heart poured out on my Rhodes”. “Bottoms Out” the 6th track on “Black Lion” is an homage to his time spent in his hometown of Hartford and it’s one of many meaningful tunes written by Douglas.
Douglas and his bandmates have known each other for nearly two decades- spending time together in Hartford, CT as well as moving to New York around the same time. They are bandleaders and composers in their own right and have challenged Douglas to be a better musician in every note he plays. To his audience, Douglas hopes that they open their hearts and listen to what he has to say. “You don’t have to love it, but just give me a chance to affect you as I give you all a chance everyday”.
Mentored by the great Jackie McLean from a young age, Dezron Douglas is one of the most called-upon bassists on the contemporary jazz scene. Active for nearly fifteen years, the bassist has continued to perform and record with Michael Carvin, Pharoah Sanders, Cyrus Chestnut, Louis Hayes, George Cables, Abraham Burton/Eric McPherson, Rene McLean, Al Foster, Ravi Coltrane, Billy Drummond, Steve Davis, Victor Lewis, Winard Harper, Mulgrew Miller, Lewis Nash, Kevin Mahogany, Carla Cook, Kenny Garrett, Steve Coleman, Willie Jones III, Duane Eubanks, Eric Reed, Tomasz Stanko, Vincent Herring, Papo Vazquez and The Marsalis Family. While he is primarily known as an upright bassist, he frequently plays electric with the likes of Jennifer Hartswick, Brandee Younger, Nickel and Dime Ops, and others.
Dezron is currently a member of Louis Hayes Jazz Communicators, Ravi Coltrane Quartet, Papo Vazquez Mighty Pirates, and he was also a long standing member of The Cyrus Chestnut Trio amongst many other associations within the music scene. Douglas’s most recent appearance on record is Makaya McCraven’s internationally lauded Universal Beings (International Anthem); the track “Black Lion” is named for the bassist.