5

Donny McCaslin: Casting For Gravity

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Donny McCaslin: Casting For Gravity 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, singer Kate McGarry, and composers/arrangers Ryan Truesdell, and Maria Schneider, 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's Steps Ahead.

Steps Ahead, with its various lineups that included saxophonist Michael Brecker, keyboardist Don Grolnick and drummers Peter Erskine and Steve Gadd, is the touchstone for this recording. That is, a time when fusion was not a dirty word.

The saxophonist surrounds himself with talent here, starting with producer/saxophonist David Binney, 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 powering all things ablaze. The pair feed off each other throughout, trading rounds on "Tension," as electric bassist Tim Lefebvre tinkers in thunder-making.

The inspiration here is both the jazz fusion of Weather Report and the electronica of bands like Aphex Twin and Boards Of Canada, whose song, "Alpha And Omega," gets covered here, with keyboardist Jason Lindner'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.

Like jazz giant Wayne Shorter, 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.

Title: Casting For Gravity | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Greenleaf Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Antidote CD/LP/Track Review Antidote
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 29, 2017
Read The Colours Suite CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 29, 2017
Read Musical Journey Through Time CD/LP/Track Review Musical Journey Through Time
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 29, 2017
Read Gentle Giants CD/LP/Track Review Gentle Giants
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 29, 2017
Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read "Opening Statement" CD/LP/Track Review Opening Statement
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "It Will Come" CD/LP/Track Review It Will Come
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 16, 2017
Read "Irmãos De Fé" CD/LP/Track Review Irmãos De Fé
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "Uptown Down" CD/LP/Track Review Uptown Down
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 26, 2016
Read "Going North" CD/LP/Track Review Going North
by Chris Mosey
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "La Diversité" CD/LP/Track Review La Diversité
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 31, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.