361

Donny McCaslin: In Pursuit

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Donny McCaslin: In Pursuit From his early forays with Steps Ahead and Ken Schaphorst's Big Band to Maria Schneider's Orchestra and his recent membership in Dave Douglas' Quintet, saxophonist/composer Donny McCaslin is finally beginning to receive the critical accolades he deserves.

His second album for Sunnyside and sixth as a leader, In Pursuit, follows a conceptual thread begun on Soar (Sunnyside, 2006). Seamlessly weaving advanced jazz harmony, lyrical melodies and Latin American polyrhythms into an organic whole, McCaslin proves his mettle as a writer of intricate but accessible tunes as well as a world-class improviser.

McCaslin brings back the core quintet from the previous session's nonet. Drummer Antonio Sanchez and percussionist Pernell Saturnino rejoin McCaslin with longstanding bassist Scott Colley and ubiquitous guitarist Ben Monder.

Produced by alto saxophonist David Binney, the album augments classic jazz sensibilities with subtle modern recording techniques. Binney's solid production and occasional alto contributions, combined with McCaslin's sure-footed writing and invigorating soloing, make for a richly rewarding listening experience.

An acknowledged fan of popular artists like Bjork, Radiohead, Soundgarden and Squarepusher, McCaslin's incorporation of pop music blossoms on the angular title track, featuring Monder and McCaslin at their most extreme, embroiled in a hornet's nest of escalating frenzy.

Monder's chameleonic virtuosity adds an electrifying intensity to these formidable compositions. He makes a perfect sparring partner for the leader; his tone alternates between delicate, gauzy serenity and full-bodied electric rasp, gnashing with swirls of feedback and blistering pyrotechnics.

A passionate soloist, McCaslin's effusive dexterity unveils a robust tone that veers from supple nuance to cathartic release. A superb technician, he is unafraid to venture into free territory, effortlessly blurring the line between inside and outside playing.

McCaslin's assured songwriting materializes on the sumptuous "Madonna." Unhurried, McCaslin demonstrates his loquacious phrasing with spirals of vibrant melodiousness as the tune unfurls gradually, epic in sweep. The bittersweet melancholy of "Sea of Expectancy" flows gracefully, held afloat by an optimistic undercurrent. Ascending a somber melodic progression with hope and resolve, the quintet brings a sense of closure to a piece rippling with uncertainty.

The majority of the album blends Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and Peruvian rhythms with advanced harmonic progressions and the straightforward tunefulness of pop music. The multi-ethnic mosaic of "A Brief Tale" is representative; percolating polyrhythms, shimmering electric guitar and plangent tenor sax all culminate in a buoyant melody.

Incorporating vibrant Latin rhythms into sophisticated arrangements that unveil a rich vein of inspired lyricism, In Pursuit skillfully bridges the gap between the worlds of popular music and high-minded jazz improvisation.


Track Listing: A Brief Tale; Descarga; Madonna; Sea of Expectancy; In Pursuit; Village Natural; Send Me a Postcard; Fast Brazil; Festival in 3 Parts.

Personnel: Donny McCaslin: tenor saxophone, flute, alto flute; David Binney: alto saxophone; Ben Monder: guitars; Scott Colley: bass; Antonio Sanchez: drums; Pernell Saturnino: percussion.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Michael Gamble and The Rhythm Serenaders" CD/LP/Track Review Michael Gamble and The Rhythm Serenaders
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 19, 2016
Read "Windows" CD/LP/Track Review Windows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 12, 2016
Read "Sounds Of 3" CD/LP/Track Review Sounds Of 3
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 17, 2016
Read "The Intergalactic Thing" CD/LP/Track Review The Intergalactic Thing
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 1, 2016
Read "Wee +3" CD/LP/Track Review Wee +3
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 7, 2016
Read "Live At Umbria Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Umbria Jazz
by James Nadal
Published: March 9, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!