Known as one of the most reliable musicians to man the low-end, Dezron Douglas has made a career of providing the root for some of the most swinging modern music. Mentored by masters like Jackie McLean, Michael Carvin, and Pharoah Sanders, Douglas’ connection with music will always be swing. “I feel like no matter what groove, time signature, form, or genre society tries to pigeonhole me in, I will always be swingin,” the bassist told Revive in an email. “There is no other way for me to be.”
This deep understanding of swing and how it permeates through Douglas can be heard in “Great Provider,” the fifth track of his 2018 release Black Lion. The roots reggae cut isn’t quite what you’d characterize as swing, but a deeper inspection of the song and it’s easy to point out Douglas’ musical upbringing. While “Great Provider” boasts a deep roots reggae groove from Douglas, drummer Jeremy “Bean” Clemmons, and Willerm Delisfort on piano, the horn section — comprised of Stacy Dillard and Lummie Spann on tenor and alto sax respectively alongside trumpeter Josh Evans — combine to create lush harmonies that feel closer to what you might hear on a Jazz Messengers record.
But “Great Provider” is more than just Douglas’ way to add some variety in Black Lion. “The song itself is a shout of joy and praise to God, the most high, for everything he/she gives us on a daily basis, including life,” Douglas shares. “The rock-ish bridge is a representation of crying out to God (prayer/meditation). Moving forward this is what I want my listeners to expect when the attend my shows and listen to my music. Exaltation of the highest gratitude and love of the most high.”