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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Donny McCaslin: Blow

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At first listen, Blow sounds more like a rock album than a jazz one. The catchy “What About The Body" could arguably be mistaken for one of King Crimson's more vituperative numbers featuring Adrian Belew. Ryan Dahle's emotionally-charged vocals are equally at the forefront of the explosive “Club Kidd." But the selection also includes three instrumental tracks too, such as the grungy, anthemic “Break The Bond," the polyrhythmic “Beast," and “Exactlyfourminutesofimprovisedmusic" (which speaks for itself) all underpinned by Tim Lefebvre's ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Donny McCaslin Group / Ensemble LPR: Symphonic Bowie at Central Park SummerStage

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Donny McCaslin Group / Ensemble LPRCentral Park SummerStage Symphonic Bowie New York, NY June 9, 2018 New York City can't stop saying goodbye to David Bowie. And with good reason. The rock legend lived in Manhattan for more than 20 years and often spoke fondly of his adopted city. On June 9, another tribute was staged, this one at Central Park's SummerStage featuring Donny McCaslin, whose band backed Bowie on his final album, followed ...

GENIUS GUIDE TO JAZZ

Preferential Treatment

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If you know anything at all about Your Own Personal Genius, you know that I like my steaks Pittsburgh rare (which has nothing to do with the article, but if you ever have me over for dinner). And, you know that I have a major thing for Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany, from the show Orphan Black. You also know that I'm not one to play favorites, and I also have a crush on actress Heather Lind from the show Turn: ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Donny McCaslin At Belfast International Arts Festival 2017

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Donny McCaslin Limelight Belfast International Arts Festival jny:Belfast, N. Ireland October 25, 2017 “Are you here because of Bowie or for jazz?" a woman asked those around her in the queue for Donny McCaslin's gig--part of the Belfast International Arts Festival. The answer, by and large, was both. McCaslin's current group will likely always be remembered--and no doubt billed for some time to come--as David Bowie's backing band on Black Star ...

IN PICTURES

Ottawa Jazz Festival 2017

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I always look forward to my hometown festival and over the past 30 years I have photographed Canadian and international artists that have performed at the Ottawa Jazz Festival. I try to capture the personality, energy, emotion, dedication and skill these talented artists display while playing jazz. Many of my festival photos have been exhibited in Ottawa at the National Arts Centre, National Library and Archives of Canada, National Press Club and at the Ginn Gallery.Enjoy a sampling of this ...

LIVE REVIEWS

The Donny McCaslin Group at The Arden Gild Hall

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The Donny McCaslin Group Arden Gild Hall Arden, Delaware January 14, 2017 Arden Delaware isn't exactly known as a jazz mecca but, with the coming of the Donny McCaslin Group to the Arden Gild Hall, it became one--for a little while at least. And in the best jazz traditions, the show presented in Arden had all of the elements you would expect from one of those meccas--innovation, exploration, technical excellence and passion--presented by players in ...

INTERVIEWS

Donny McCaslin: Bowie Deepened The Relationships In My Band

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Wherever the boundaries were in music, in most cases, they have perished and are no more. Jazz has always been a music of exploration and taking chances and as a result, has benefited from the dialogues with other music, be it folk, rock, classical or electronic. Saxophonist and composer Donny McCaslin certainly doesn't believe in boundaries. He is one of the handful musicians who uses different strands as a launching point for further exploration. His recent records Fast Future (Greenleaf, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Donny McCaslin: Fast Future

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Saxophonist Donny McCaslin brought a fresh perspective to the acoustic-electronic jazz soundscape with 2012's Casting for Gravity (Greenleaf Music) which earned a Grammy nomination for “Best Instrumental Jazz Solo" for the track “Stadium Jazz." Thankfully it was not a one-off as McCaslin reassembles the tightly knit band and savvy production from saxophonist David Binney in Fast Future, a release that continues the groove factor. Like its predecessor, the music pulsates with energy as McCaslin's tenor powers over ...

INTERVIEWS

Donny McCaslin: Lightness and Gravity

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Saxophonist Donny McCaslin seems like a young player, given his energy and inventiveness. But he has been playing jazz for three decades. As a child, he was part of his father's jazz ensemble and a member of his high school jazz band. He led his own bands after moving to New York from his native California, but also did considerable sideman duty. In particular, McCaslin broke into the highest ranks of critical acclaim thanks to his turns with bandleader Maria ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Donny McCaslin: Casting For Gravity

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Incorporating electronic instrumentation into his palette, tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin dishes out a thrusting program that could, to some extent, be nestled within the jazz-fusion genre, but not in the traditional sense. The hard-hitting saxophonist and his band integrate fusion mechanics and spacey treatments to underscore many of the popping grooves, thundering pulses, knotty time signatures and progressive-jazz type soloing exchanges with keyboardist Jason Lindner. But McCaslin doesn't engage technical gymnastics or complexities simply for the sake of it.