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Dave Douglas: Jazz Hymns Honor A Dying Wish

Dave Douglas' new album, <em>Be Still</em>, includes hymns he played at his mother's funeral service.
Dave Douglas' new album, <em>Be Still</em>, includes hymns he played at his mother's funeral service.

Dave Douglas has been an important player in the jazz world for more than two decades, producing a broad body of work as both a trumpet player and a composer. His newest album, Be Still, has a bittersweet backstory: It contains his arrangements of several hymns that his dying mother asked him to perform at her funeral service.

"She was towards the end of a long struggle against ovarian cancer, and we had the time to have those conversations that I feel so lucky to have had now that she's gone," Douglas says. "As anyone who's lost a parent recently knows, that's the best feeling — that you really had this communication, and you really shared what was there to share up until the end."

To make Be Still, Douglas enlisted a new quintet and, for the first time in his career, a vocalist. Here, he discusses the making of the record with NPR's Rachel Martin; click the audio link on this page to hear more.

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