Moonshine, the newest album from trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas’ Grammy-nominated band Keystone, is an album that moves musical genres forward into uncharted territory. The evolutionary, revolutionary aspect is found in the vibrant alchemy between Douglas’ avant-garde leaning compositions, the relentless, polyrhythmic funk of drummer Gene Lake and bassist Brad Jones, the Sun-Ra-esque sonics of Adam Benjamin who plays a highly modulated Fender Rhodes and the post-post blowing of the front line featuring Douglas and saxophonist Marcus Strickland. But what puts this one over the top is the true integration of a DJ, in this case DJ Olive, into the constantly shifting improvisations of a cutting edge band. Rolling Stone called Keystone’s 2005’s self titled album, “a modernist requiem.” Moonshine takes it a step further: a modernist recipe for the future sound of electronics, jazz, and new composition.
“I think of it as Green Beat,” says Douglas with a grin, referring to the organic way that the rhythms of vinyl, laptop, and drum set coalesce in this infectious, grooving new album. One forgets all the elements that go into this hybrid music, as each piece amounts to a masterpiece of modern jazz-informed composition and performance.
There are many details buried in these tracks, and perhaps the most remarkable thing is that the basis for this recording was a single performance in front of a live studio audience. The state-of-the-art mutli-track recording of this session makes possible a hybrid of the best parts of studio isolation and live excitement. It allowed Greenleaf Music to raise to the highest level the post-production of these recordings.