Dave Douglas & Keystone
Old Town School of Folk Music; Sat 8
And now, for his next trick! Out-there trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas never sits still, and at this show he and his heavily wired quintet provide the accompaniment to Fatty and Mabel Adrift, an old silent movie starring Fatty Arbuckle. Douglas wants to start a Fatty Renaissance and get more people hooked on the comedian. Douglas's music and Arbuckle's film might not be a marriage made in heaven, but the music Douglas has cooked up makes this show pretty hip just by itself.
Douglas also isn't taking the reining-in of commercial-jazz recording lying down. His Chicago-based label, Greenleaf Music, is making Keystone, the CD and DVD of the Arbuckle project, available for purchase online only. Commentators have been predicting the death of bricks-and-mortar music retailers for years, so maybe Douglas is ahead of the curve.
Surrounding himself with DJ Olive, Jamie Saft on Wurlitzer and Brad Jones on electric bass, Douglas pretty much always blows relaxed lines over the grooves set up by drummer Oliver Lake. "Sapphire Sky Blue" provides the most melodic heft of the album, with Douglas and Marcus Strickland on tenor sax walking through the dreamy melody before Strickland's wistful solo. Sneaky Douglas then switches things up with a darting, rebellious turn himself. "Fatty's Day Off" is DJ Olive's showcase, with low-lying frequencies acting as a foil to Lake's twitchy playing.
Those songs and others form the accompaniment to the Arbuckle film. Oh yeah, and the movie's pretty funny, too: Fatty and his wife discover that their lakefront cottage has washed out to sea in the middle of the night. Leave it to Douglas to want to accompany it.—Marc Geelhoed