How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
If saxophonist Donny McCaslin stuck a toe into the ocean of electric jazz with his previous album Perpetual Motion (Greenleaf, 2010), then with Casting For Gravity he dives headfirst into the sea. But don't worry, with his musical dexterity and adeptness on horn, he is in no danger of sinking. In fact, he takes to these waters like a thirsty horse.
The saxophonist of choice for the band leaders including trumpeter Dave Douglas
, McCaslin grew up in California listening to fusion, pop, and bands like Tower Of Power that infused R&B and funk into their jazz horn section. For awhile in the 1990s, he played in a revived version of vibraphonist Mike Mainieri
, a fellow saxophonist and former member of the 1990s collective Lan Xang, with McCaslin. The album opens with the oxymoronic "Stadium Jazz," a melodic burner with ever- changing rhythms, and finds drummer Mark Guiliana
's spooky synths and McCaslin's processed, echo-y effects. As the song progresses the electronics threaten and bully the affair, all the while McCaslin Enduring on a short, four-minute song that begs for a longer live production.
, McCaslin's sound suffers no ill effects of fusion, nor is he compromised by the genre. He goes toe-to-toe with the electric funk on "Says Who" and sails above the changes on the tour de force "Praia Grande." On the thoughtful closer "Henry," a softer tone is called, with Linder on electric piano and McCaslin delivering his trademark runs.
Track Listing: Stadium Jazz; Says Who; Losing Track Of Daytime; Alpha And Omega; Tension; Praia Grande;
Love Song For An Echo; Casting For Gravity; Bend; Henry.
Personnel: Donny McCaslin: tenor saxophone; Jason Lindner: electric piano, acoustic piano, synthesizers;
Tim Lefebvre: electric bass; Mark Guiliana: drums.