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 narrativea 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; New Thirds; 2nd Hour Revisited; Fast Brazil.
Enjoy Three Days on the Beach with Snarky Puppy, Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band, Lettuce, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Lila Downs, Michael McDonald Acoustic Quartet, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Flor de Toloache and more—February 14-16, 2020 at the North Beach Bandshell in Miami, FL.
The winner receives a 3-day pass for two. Excludes travel or lodging.
Acclaimed by the New York Times as one of the “Top 10 Definitive Moments of the Decade in Jazz Music,” GroundUP goes beyond the typical festival experience, breaking down the barriers between audience and artists...
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