198

Donny McCaslin: The Way Through

Florence Wetzel By

Sign in to view read count
Donny McCaslin: The Way Through The Way Through explores the many colors of jazz while at the same time respectfully stretching the music’s boundaries. Donny McCaslin, a tenor saxophonist with a rich, warm sound, is also an extremely skilled arranger with an interesting use of space. The basic instrumentation here is sax, bass, and drums, but there’s also sax duet improvisations, solo work by McCaslin, and judicious use of voice, steel pan, and sampler. McCaslin has many paints on his palette, and his selections are always tasteful and interesting.

McCaslin combines original compositions with the standard “I Should Care,” Dizzy Gillespie’s “What Remains,” and Wayne Shorter’s “Fee Fo Fi Fum.” McCaslin is not afraid to take chances, and he is not afraid to mix styles and eras. A good example is his song “Break Tune” which, true to its title, breaks down the melody and explores the line between control and chaos. Here McCaslin uses a sampler, and the song is a successful merger of jazz and the new technology. The integration of acoustic and electronic instruments is still evolving, and McCaslin understands both well enough to take a positive step in harmonizing the two worlds.

McCaslin’s other original compositions are equally notable. There’s “San Lorenzo,” which starts off with a slow, yearning sax and ends in ecstatic singing. The steel pan, vocals, and Latin rhythms combined with McCaslin’s lyrical playing make this song a real gem. Other originals include “Skyward,” which has a swinging melody and interesting chordal work, the meditative exploration “Shadowlands,” and the title track “The Way Through,” where McCaslin stretches out with pure tones and expressive lines. The recording ends with the wonderful “Flutter,” a duet improvisation with McCaslin and altoist David Binney that channels Eric Dolphy and highlights McCaslin’s imaginative playing.

McCaslin explores a lot of territory on The Way Through , and whether he’s coloring inside the lines or disregarding them altogether, he always has something interesting to say. His assimilation of different styles and technologies is also compelling, and certainly worth watching. McCaslin is just shy of 40, which in the world of jazz is relatively young; it’s inspiring to hear him emerge as a leader, and listeners should look forward to more.


Track Listing: 1. Skyward (McCaslin) - 6:01 2. San Lorenzo (McCaslin) - 2:49 3. Shadowlands (McCaslin) - 6:31 4. I Should Care (Cahn) - 5:59 5. The Way Through (McCaslin) - 7:50 6. Break Tune (McCaslin) - 3:57 7. Free California (Binney/McCaslin) - 3:22 8. Fe Fo Fi Fum (Shorter) - 5:40 9. What Remains (Gillespie) - 4:35 10. Woody and You - 3:30 11. Flutter (Binney/McCaslin) - 5:46

Personnel: Dave Binney - Alto Sax; Anders Bostrom - Flute, Alto Flute, Bass Flute; Scott Colley - Bass; Adam Cruz - Percussion, Drums, Marimba, Steel Pan; Doug Yates - Clarinet, Bass Clarinet; Donny McCaslin - Soprano Sax, Tenor Sax; Luciana Souza - Vocals.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Arabesque Jazz | 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 "Mo' Puddin'" CD/LP/Track Review Mo' Puddin'
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 24, 2016
Read "Flow" CD/LP/Track Review Flow
by Budd Kopman
Published: July 9, 2016
Read "Another Day in Fucking Paradise" CD/LP/Track Review Another Day in Fucking Paradise
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 6, 2016
Read "Intersection" CD/LP/Track Review Intersection
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 9, 2016
Read "The Candy Men" CD/LP/Track Review The Candy Men
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 28, 2016
Read "In Denmark 1959-1960" CD/LP/Track Review In Denmark 1959-1960
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 7, 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!