Saturday, October 06, 2012

Donny McCaslin - Casting for Gravity (Greenleaf, 2012)

Saxophonist Donny McCaslin has become gradually more adventurous in his playing and musical surroundings over the past few albums, embracing elements of electronic instruments and fusion to create new avenues for expression. On this album he is joined by Jason Lindner on keyboards, Tim Lefebvre on bass and Mark Guiliana on drums. The electric textures are right up front on the opening "Stadium Jazz" which kicks in urgently with keyboards, bass and drums. McCaslin's saxophone gradually rises in intensity to meet the other instruments and after a drum solo, the music develops dynamic ebbs and flows. Choppy saxophone and strong electronics usher in "Says Who" which moves into a funky section of bubbling bass and electric piano. The leader's saxophone digs in and builds against the grinding electronics. "Tension" has uptempo spooling saxophone over electronics and bass. Strong saxophone builds the pace with heavy resolve, driving hard to the finish. Guiliana contributes excellent percussion on "Prala Grande" moving along with progressive rock like electronics to frame the saxophone soloing which develops in power and intensity. Uptempo and caffeinated, "Bend," features strong ripe saxophone soloing over a shifting musical landscape, developing raw accents along with the swirling electronics. This album was very interesting and consistently engaging. The group really sounds excited to have the new tools and freedom to work with and develops music that remains jazz at its heart but draws fresh inspiration from other avenues of contemporary music. Casting for Gravity -

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