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Donny McCaslin: Perpetual Motion

C. Michael Bailey By

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Track review of "Firefly"

Donny McCaslin: Perpetual Motion Donny McCaslin's Perpetual Motion is an embarrassment of riches, employing a lineup populated by the edgiest, most progressive-thinking jazz musicians currently composing. Alto saxophonist David Binney (who also produces the disc), pianist Uri Caine, bassist Tim Lefebvre and drummer Antonio Sanchez have been producing music that has positively expanded jazz music for the past decade. McCaslin has made good company with these artists since hitting his stride on Declaration (Sunnyside, 2009) and Recommended Tools (Greenleaf Music, 2008), and here, this group of musicians are charting jazz's course.

McCaslin's gentle ballad, "Firefly," reveals an amorphous and spiritual direction that draws its soul from Wayne Shorter and the second great Miles Davis quintet. The piece is introduced by bassist Lefebvre, whose volume-modulated playing recalls Bill Frisell. McCaslin enters plaintively, charting a course of freedom that is assimilated by Sanchez, and Adam Benjamin—whose Fender Rhodes interlude informs a new generation of Miles Davis, pushing the envelope with Chick Corea during the Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970) period. McCaslin is soulful throughout this lengthy piece, reaching is R&B best in the coda—very slick and imaginative music.

Personnel: Donny McCaslin: tenor saxophone; Adam Benjamin: Fender Rhodes; Uri Caine: piano; Tim LeFebvre: electric bass; Antonio Sanchez: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Greenleaf Music | Style: Modern Jazz


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