Dave/Fatty in New York Times

Posted by: mike on August 30, 2005 @ 3:46 am
Filed under: Dave Douglas (News)

He’s too modest to point it out himself, but Dave is featured in Sunday’s edition of the New York Times (free registration required).

The silent-film comedian Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle may seem like an unlikely inspiration for a jazz composer. But the trumpeter Dave Douglas’s newest album serves as accompaniment, homage and apology to Arbuckle, whose career was destroyed when he was charged with rape and murder in 1921. “Keystone,” set for release Sept. 20 on Mr. Douglas’s own Greenleaf Music label (www.greenleafmusic.com), uses DualDisc technology in a multimedia package devoted to Arbuckle. The CD side of the disc includes 11 original songs; on the DVD side, five of those songs, in edited form, make up a new soundtrack for “Fatty and Mabel Adrift,” a 1916 two-reeler that Arbuckle made, as director and star, for Mack Sennett at Keystone Film Studios. The DVD side also has a music video called “Just Another Murder,” created from vignettes from another Arbuckle film, “Fatty’s Tintype Tangle.”

The project began when Jon Yanofsky, executive director of the Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill, N.Y., asked Mr. Douglas if he would like to write and perform some film scores in conjunction with a grant the center had received. Not wanting his music “to overpower the images,” Mr. Douglas said, he chose to work with the Arbuckle films because their fast pace seemed to match well with the heavily grooved, electronica-steeped jazz riffs he was creating in his home studio. Mr. Douglas said he was also drawn by the present obscurity of the films; Arbuckle was one of the biggest stars of the silent era when the scandal struck, but he never regained his popularity even though he was eventually acquitted. Mr. Douglas and his band will perform live to screenings of “Fatty and Mabel Adrift,” “Fatty’s Tintype Tangle” and two other Arbuckle films on Oct. 1 at the Paramount Center (http://tickets.paramountcenter.org); a New York City performance is scheduled for Feb. 18.

Sharing a birthday (March 24) with Arbuckle “certainly piqued my interest,” Mr. Douglas said. “But what really got me into the guy was realizing why his name was tarnished. It hit on my sense of social consciousness and made me want to be part of setting something right for Roscoe Arbuckle.”

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