259

Donny McCaslin Group at The Jazz Standard, Dec. 16, NYC

Ernest Barteldes By

Sign in to view read count
Donny McCaslin Group
Jazz Standard
New York, New York
December 16, 2009


The music from Donny McCaslin's recent album Declaration was the basis of this evening's first set, which was part of the saxophonist's two-day stand at the Manhattan jazz club, where he appeared with his nine-piece ensemble (Ben Monder: guitar; Hans Glawischnig: bass; John Clarke: French horn; Marshall Gilkes: trombone; Ed Simon:piano; Alex "Sasha" Sipiagin: trumpet; Marcus Rojas: tuba; Adam Cruz: drums). The band kicked off with "M," immediately showcasing the leader's skills with a solo filled with arpeggios and long notes. The tune itself sounded as if it belonged to a movie soundtrack with its unexpected pauses and climaxes.

They followed that with "Fat Cat,"written in homage to the Greenwich Village jazz club/pool hall of the same name. The tune employed a more unhurried approach the the preceding number, in addition to evidencing a clear Afro-Cuban influence. The latter was especially apparent during Simon's extended solo, which contained strong Latin rhythms mixed with contemporary elements. In addition, McCaslin shone during his own individual moment.

Until that moment, the remaining musicians had not yet been featured (with the exception of a drum solo from Cruz), which made the music feel a little too controlled. That perception changed during the second half of the set, especially when Glawishchig began "Uppercut" with a breathtaking solo. There was also a surprising exchange between Sipiagin and Cruz, the pair engaging in a call-and-response musical conversation before the whole ensemble joined in.

The set closed with a tune centered on Rojas, who began with a gurgling sound that evolved into a highly improvised contemporary piece also featuring Monder, who submitted an electrifying solo reminiscent of Steve Howe or Pat Metheny.

Though one could not help wondering why there were so few outstanding individual moments, especially considering the caliber of the musicians in the group, it was a very enjoyable, musically rich set that gave us a clear idea of McCaslin's talent both as a tunesmith and instrumentalist.


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Redwood City Salsa Festival 2017 Live Reviews Redwood City Salsa Festival 2017
by Walter Atkins
Published: October 17, 2017
Read AJAZZGO Festival in Cali, Colombia Live Reviews AJAZZGO Festival in Cali, Colombia
by Mark Holston
Published: October 13, 2017
Read CEO Experiment With Kurt Rosenwinkel at The Sugar Club Live Reviews CEO Experiment With Kurt Rosenwinkel at The Sugar Club
by Ian Patterson
Published: October 11, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.