All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

486

Dave Douglas & Keystone: Moonshine

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
It's unlikely that Dave Douglas expected the Grammy-nominated Keystone (Greenleaf Music, 2005) to turn into an ongoing project, but as a parallel to his quintet of the past half decade, the trumpeter has forged a distinct entity with the group he now calls Keystone. This sextet shares some commonality with the quintet responsible for Meaning and Mystery (Greenleaf, 2006), but there are just as many differences, if not more. Moonshine affirms that Keystone is a band with a very different purpose.



For one thing, Keystone is a far more electric band. Douglas' quintet also features Fender Rhodes as a defining color, but Adam Benjamin's heavily processed Rhodes expands Keystone's textural landscape much further, as do DJ Olive's turntables. And while both bands groove, Keystone's Brad Jones (electric bass) and Gene Lake (drums) take Douglas' sometimes sketch-like, other times detailed compositions into far more fervently propulsive territory. There's nothing in Douglas' quintet repertoire that grooves as hard as Moonshine's funky title track, or approaches the near-metal of the frenetic "Kitten," where Benjamin's overdriven Rhodes sounds more like thrash guitar than electric piano, or the energetic "Tough," which straddles the line between near-prog and a skewed soul-jazz vibe.



Moonshine also bears the earmarks of extensive post-production editing, a process that Douglas first explored with Freak In (RCA, 2003) but with which he's become considerably more comfortable with since. While Douglas' work, no matter what the context—and there have been many in the past fifteen years—is, at the core, about the playing, Moonshine takes his interest in combining group interaction with post-production a step forward. Recorded in front of a live in-studio audience, Moonshine has all the excitement of a live, improvisation-heavy performance and the broader soundscaping that simply can't be created in real time.



Keystone isn't just about high energy, and while its expanded sonics and contemporary ambience are far from conventional jazz, this is music that couldn't exist without that tradition as one stylistic pillar. Douglas and saxophonist Marcus Strickland solo with an advanced language bearing precedence in what's come before; there are even brief moments during the twists and turns of "Married Life" that actually swing, although they come between more ominous grooves and denser electronic textures.



Again inspired by a Fatty Arbuckle film—albeit one distanced from the more outrageous slapstick of the misunderstood and misrepresented comedian's peers—Moonshine is as forward-thinking as its predecessor. But it's equally rooted in the present, with DJ Olive's samples of George W. Bush speaking the word "terrorist" interspersed with a plaintive Middle Eastern chant making this the most overtly politicized music Douglas has made since Witness (RCA, 2001).



What makes Moonshine ultimately such a success, however, is Douglas' ability to cloak avant-garde concerns in accessible surroundings. As deep and challenging as anything he's ever recorded, Moonshine remains an album that's as much food for the heart and soul as it is for the mind, and continues Douglas' remarkably unbroken string of superb and uncompromising releases.


Track Listing: Dog Star; Moonshine; Married Life; Silent Stars; Scopes; Flooded Plane; Kitten; Tough; Photosynthesis (bonus track, download-only).

Personnel: Dave Douglas: trumpet; Marcus Strickland: saxophones; Adam Benjamin: Fender Rhodes; Brad Jones: bass; Gene Lake: drums; DJ Olive: turntables.

Title: Moonshine | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Greenleaf Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Garden State

Garden State

Dave Douglas
Time Travel

Bad Mango

Bad Mango

Dave Douglas
Bad Mango

The Gulf

The Gulf

Dave Douglas
Orange Afternoons

Safeway

Safeway

Dave Douglas
Rare Metals

In Pictures
Live Reviews
Catching Up With
CD/LP/Track Review
Genius Guide to Jazz
Read more articles
The New National Anthem

The New National...

Greenleaf Music
2017

buy
Little Giant Still Life

Little Giant Still...

Greenleaf Music
2017

buy
Dark Territory

Dark Territory

Greenleaf Music
2016

buy
Dada People

Dada People

Greenleaf Music
2016

buy
High Risk

High Risk

Greenleaf Music
2015

buy
Brazen Heart

Brazen Heart

Greenleaf Music
2015

buy

Related Articles

Read Pendulum CD/LP/Track Review
Pendulum
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Flow Vertical CD/LP/Track Review
Flow Vertical
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Bonafide CD/LP/Track Review
Bonafide
by Geannine Reid
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Christian McBride's New Jawn CD/LP/Track Review
Christian McBride's New Jawn
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Bonafide CD/LP/Track Review
Bonafide
by David A. Orthmann
Published: November 21, 2018
Read The Sky Above Her CD/LP/Track Review
The Sky Above Her
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 20, 2018
Read "64:38 Radio Full Liv(f)e" CD/LP/Track Review 64:38 Radio Full Liv(f)e
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 25, 2017
Read "The Best of the Grateful Dead Live" CD/LP/Track Review The Best of the Grateful Dead Live
by Doug Collette
Published: April 27, 2018
Read "Blued Dharma" CD/LP/Track Review Blued Dharma
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: June 14, 2018
Read "Journey" CD/LP/Track Review Journey
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 1, 2018
Read "Journey Moments" CD/LP/Track Review Journey Moments
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: July 18, 2018
Read "Black Flower" CD/LP/Track Review Black Flower
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 3, 2018