Dave Douglas: Thoughts Around Mahfouz

Wednesday, April 15, 1998 @ 8:30 pm

“Thoughts Around Mahfouz”, a night of new compositions and improvisations inspired by the writing of Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz. Composer Dave Douglas (trumpet and electrics) performs with his new ensemble, featuring Ikue Mori (electronic percussion), Jamie Saft (keyboards) and Kenny Wollesen (drums and percussion).

Regarded as one of the first contemporary writers of Arabic literature to explore themes of existentialism, Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz (1911–2006) won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1988. Naguib Mahfouz’ authorship deals with some of life’s fundamental questions, including the passage of time, society and norms, knowledge and faith, reason and love. He often uses his hometown of Cairo as the backdrop for his stories and some of his early works are set in ancient Egypt. Later, the modern age and life in a changing society became the focus of his writing, although some of his later works have a more mystical or metaphysical character. Naguib Mahfouz’ body of work comprises more than 30 novels and 350 short stories. Many of his stories have been adapted for film.


Dave Douglas is a prolific trumpeter, composer, educator and entrepreneur from New York City known for the stylistic breadth of his work and for keeping a diverse set of ensembles and projects active simultaneously. That diversity has characterized his music since he emerged from the downtown scene in the mid-1980s. Since then, his unique contributions to improvised music have garnered distinguished recognition, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Aaron Copland award, two GRAMMY® nominations and almost yearly mentions in readers’ and critics’ polls. Never willing to stand still, his career spans more than 40 recordings as a leader. While those projects extend from progressive chamber-jazz ensembles to straight-ahead combos, Douglas has always maintained his focus on the interplay between composer, ensemble and improviser. –Bio as of 2016