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Seen from Above

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Album Review

Donny McCaslin is a versatile tenor saxophonist whose second release as a leader exhibits steady growth and imagination in abundance. Together with sidemen Ben Monder on guitar, Scott Colley on bass, and Jim Black on drums, McCaslin plays his heart out on some very invigorating original music. His rock influences come to the fore on numbers like "Manresa," the Scofield-esque "Second Line Sally," and the frenetic "Mick Gee." Jim Black is particularly fiery on these tracks - nailing the pocket at every moment but filling with abandon and getting a huge sound from his drums. Monder pushes the tunes over the top with his use of heavy distortion. "Going to the Territory" is more laid-back but very much in a funk-rock mold; Colley and Black still give even the most rocking moments a jazz-like openness. This extraordinary rhythm team lends a similar looseness and flexibility to the off-kilter, swinging "Strange Pilgrim."

McCaslin is most lyrical and impassioned on the mellower, harmonically involved "Seen From Above" and the 3/4 ballad "These Were Palaces," which bears a passing resemblance to Monk's "Ugly Beauty." Wrapping up the album in straightahead jazz mode, McCaslin offers the uptempo "Frontiers" and a tenor/bass duo reading of Kurt Weill's "September Song." Whether playing a standard like this or one of his own daring compositions, McCaslin is equally at home, conversant with the tradition but forging his own compositional and instrumental voice. ~ David R. Adler, Rovi

Biography

Born: 11 August 1966 in Santa Clara, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A graduate of the Berklee School of Music, Donny McCaslin (born Donald Paul McCaslin) has had a saxophone in his hands from his earliest years and has integrated the entire range of sounds that a tenor sax can produce into his repertoire: from mainstream modern to funky fusion to laid-back balmy ballads, all flavored with his own experimental style. McCaslin's father originally taught high-school English but favored being a jazz musician, playing the vibraphone and piano in local gigs with young...
Full bio
Seen from Above, Donny McCaslin
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  • 8,91 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 12 September 2000

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