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 Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Tales & Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Tales & Tones
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "It's Time" CD/LP/Track Review It's Time
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: August 31, 2016
Read "Everyone Is Everyone Else" CD/LP/Track Review Everyone Is Everyone Else
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 13, 2016
Read "Near Life Experience" CD/LP/Track Review Near Life Experience
by John Kelman
Published: June 27, 2016
Read "Miles Goes Wes" CD/LP/Track Review Miles Goes Wes
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "I Just Did Say Something" CD/LP/Track Review I Just Did Say Something
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 27, 2016

Smart Advertising!

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