Saturday, April 25, 2015

Donny McCaslin - Fast Future (Greenleaf, 2015)

Saxophonist and composer Donny McCaslin has moved progressively farther with each album from straight ahead acoustic jazz to a style that owes as much to electronica and EMD as to modern jazz. He is joined by the same accompaniment as on his excellent 2012 release Casting for Gravity: Jason Lindner on keyboards, Tim Lefebvre on bass and Mark Guiliana on drums. Fellow saxophonist David Binney produces the album, adding layers of electronics and processing that even further to develop a radically different sound. McCaslin does have a distinct saxophone tone, dark and burly, but it is lightened somewhat by the arrangements that occasionally bury him amidst all of the electronics. McCaslin’s music moves away from “traditional” fusion like Return to Forever and embraces modern electronic performers like Aphex Twin, whose “54 Cymru Beats,” gets a quick run through. Although the album is predominately taken at a medium or up-tempo, there are some ballads like “Midnight Light” and the odd “Love What is Mortal” with it’s unexpected plaintive female spoken word. The album comes across as a shape-shifting organism, hinting at jazz, pop and much in-between. Fast Future -

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