516

Donny McCaslin: Recommended Tools

Tom Greenland By

Sign in to view read count
Donny McCaslin: Recommended Tools Recommended Tools, saxophonist Donny McCaslin's seventh session as a leader and his first for Dave Douglas' Greenleaf Music, follows in the tenor trio tradition of Sonny Rollins' A Night at the Village Vanguard and Joe Henderson's The State of the Tenor. Going chordless, without the safety-net of a comping instrument, gives the frontline instrumentalist more latitude to take it out, but also creates additional pressure to establish and develop an improvisational narrative—a task that McCaslin proves well up to. Featuring original compositions (plus a cover of Billy Strayhorn's "Isfahan"), with bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Johnathan Blake, Tools leaves ample sonic space for McCaslin's "stories." Immediately evident is his encyclopedic knowledge of scales and intervals, a mastery that allows him to permutate and transmogrify these rudiments with ease, each idea an organic outgrowth of the previous one.

In spite of all this cleverness, however, the flow never feels forced or formulaic. On "The Champion" (a tribute to Hermeto Pascoal), "Margins of Solitude" and "Fast Brazil" (a remake of of his earlier big band version found on In Pursuit), the saxophonist plays astounding solos that seamlessly blend harmonic complexity with lyric ingenuity. Even the Martian-esque "2nd Hour Revisited," based on a twelve-tone concept, suggests an inherent logic and ends holistically.

On Sep. 30, sporting a fashionably faded Selmer sax, bassist Rick Rodriguez and drummer Ted Poor joined McCaslin at New York's Jazz Standard to celebrate the new release. From the opening fusillade of "3 Signs" to the soulful Americana of "Late Night Gospel," the subtly shaded bop of the title track, a pared down "Margins of Solitude" and finishing with an ebullient "Fast Brazil," McCaslin was consistently excellent. Rodriguez's trebled tone and middle-of-the-beat assurance alongside Poor's melodramatic minimalism, astutely highlighted throughout, were effective complements to the leader's fervid blowing.


Track Listing: Recommended Tools; Eventual; Late Night Gospel; Excursion; Isfahan; The Champion; Margins of Solitude; 3 Signs; 2nd Hour Revisited; Fast Brazil.

Personnel: Donny McCaslin: tenor sax; Hans Glawischnig: bass; Johnathan Blake: drums.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Greenleaf Music | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Ballast" CD/LP/Track Review Ballast
by Dave Wayne
Published: June 6, 2016
Read "Sunday Night At The Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review Sunday Night At The Vanguard
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 18, 2016
Read "Samba Gostoso" CD/LP/Track Review Samba Gostoso
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "Henry" CD/LP/Track Review Henry
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "AHEO" CD/LP/Track Review AHEO
by James Nadal
Published: May 23, 2016
Read "Lost at Last" CD/LP/Track Review Lost at Last
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 10, 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!