In a new book called Generation Disaster, psychologist Karla Vermeulen examines how the compounding traumas of the past twenty years—wars, mass shootings, financial crises, climate calamities, pandemics—have impacted the lives of American young adults. In an interview with writer Anne Helen Petersen, Vermeulen discusses the notion of “getting back to baseline functioning,” and what that means for people who have lived with trauma after trauma. “It seems more like the world is constantly undermining and eroding their personal baselines rather than shoring them up,” Vermeulen says.
Saxophonist Caroline Davis’s new record Portals, Volume 1: Mourning (Sunnyside) emerges from a time in her life where her personal baselines were deeply eroded. In 2019, Davis lost her father unexpectedly, a trauma compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The music on this record is the result of a process of channelling mourning through composition and reflection. The compositions explore multiple experiences of grief—the intellectual, emotional, and bodily—and how they intersect through memory. With her working quintet and a quartet of improvising string players, Davis is able to transform these experiences into potently expressive music.
This Friday, September 10, Davis will celebrate the release of Portals, Volume 1 at The Jazz Gallery alongside many members of the album lineup. Before hearing this music live, take a listen to the full album, below.
Caroline Davis celebrates the release of Portals, Volume 1: Mourning (Sunnyside) at The Jazz Gallery on Friday, September 10, 2021. The group features Ms. Davis on alto saxophone, Mike Rodriguez on trumpet, Julian Shore on piano, Chris Tordini on bass, Sara Caswell, Josh Henderson, and Joanna Mattrey on violin; and Mariel Roberts on cello. Sets are at 7:30 and 9:30 P.M. E.D.T. $25 general admission ($10 for members), $35 reserved table seating ($20 for members) for each set. Purchase tickets here.