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McCaslin’s Warszawa video exclusive and live review

Total Blam Blam's picture
on March 16, 2017

 

“The jazz of life”

 

We’ve mentioned Donny McCaslin and his band and the magnificent work they contributed to David Bowie’s Blackstar album and the No Plan EP more than once on these pages.

 

We also told you about Donny’s solo album, Beyond Now, in October last year.

 

Here’s an excerpt from a piece about it taken from the Guardian’s review...

 

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The experience of creating music with Bowie proved so deep, and its aftermath so jarring, that McCaslin decided to turn his new album, Beyond Now, out 14 October, into a tribute. It includes several transformative covers of Bowie songs, including Warszawa from Low, and A Small Plot of Land from Outside, along with a song McCaslin wrote inspired by a piece Bowie left off Blackstar.

 

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Now Donny and the band have created a stylishly moody video to accompany their haunting version of Warszawa, and Donny kindly gave us the heads up. Here it is.

 

Keep up to date with all of Donny’s goings-on on his FB page.

 

 

#BowieMcCaslin  #DonnyMcCaslinBeyondNow  #DonnyMcCaslin

 

 

One of the very best gigs we attended last year, was Donny’s amazing performance at the London Jazz Festival in November. Check out a review of that show by Time Out writer, Liz tray.

 

 

Donny McCaslin, EFG London Jazz Festival – Rich Mix, November 15. Review by Liz Tray

 

Make no mistake, Donny McCaslin, this genial giant sax player from California, has had a distinguished career in jazz. He's spent nearly three decades carving out a groove in modern jazz playing, starting with filling the huge shoes of Michael Brecker in the legendary fusion group Steps Ahead. With three Grammy nominations to his name, he's become the trusted right-hand man of bandleader Maria Schneider, herself a multiple Grammy winner. The dreaded term 'crossover' has come to be applied in jazz to artists who break out of the somewhat closed jazz world (closed to mainstream rock/pop fans, in that sense) and make a break across the aisle. In the 70s it was Herbie Hancock who did it, and even before then Miles Davis - the greatest jazz artist of all time - had broken the mould, with Kind Of Blue becoming the best-selling, and most famous, jazz album of all time.

 

Historically, plenty of pop musicians (looking at you, Sting) have sought out jazz players on their records to give them a bit of cool. And as a lifelong jazz fan, Bowie was no different, taking on saxophonist David Sanborn and trumpeter Lester Bowie to play on his records, among others. Even Mike Garson, of course, is a jazz player. As we all know, Bowie was one of the great casting directors of our time. But beyond bit parts - musicians popping up - he had never given over an entire record to jazz musicians, until Blackstar. Everyone knows the story. He wanted to continue his collaboration with Schneider after their magnificent foray with Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime) in 2014. But she had already committed to The Thompson Fields project. So she pressed a copy of McCaslin's Casting For Gravity into his hand (having sent him the track Stadium Jazz first) and suggested they visit Greenwich Village's Bar 55 to see his quartet (with Mark Guiliana, Tim Lefebvre and Jason Lindner). McCaslin says he spotted Bowie sitting at a table with Schneider, and tried to keep calm, as you would, and just concentrate on playing. Shortly after, he got an invite to perform on what would turn out to be Bowie's last album. Since then, one imagines, his feet haven't touched the ground as suddenly, this brilliant, powerful quartet have become among the most famous jazz musicians in the world.

 

During a short European tour, McCaslin's group (minus Lefebvre, whose regular gig - with the arena-filling Tedeschi Trucks Band - called; replaced by Jonathan Maron) dropped into Shoreditch's Rich Mix, packing out the overheated main room and shaking the walls. They'd dropped into London to play some stuff from his new Beyond Now album, a follow-up to last year's excellent Fast Future. You could tell the crowd had some Bowie fans at their first jazz gig present; they looked a bit shell-shocked. As I heard someone say, listening to jazz on record is hardly like seeing it live. It's so much more visceral, muscular, and frankly, louder than you can imagine, especially with a fusion quartet like the one McCaslin leads. The bass thundered. Lindner's synthesiser textures lent a cosmic vibe reminiscent of the early 70s electric work of Keith Jarrett when he was playing with Miles. Guiliana's complex, intricate drumming evoked the greats; one can feel comfortable comparing him to all-time greats like Elvin Jones and Jack DeJohnette, alongside recent masters like Brian Blade and Kendrick's drummer Ron Bruner Jr. That's how good he is. Get his 2015 album Family First, you won't regret it.

 

McCaslin leads this band through twisting and turning renditions of songs new and old. You might have expected Warszawa to be on the setlist, and you'd be right. The band closed with it. Less expected but incredibly welcome were two more Bowie songs. First, one that caused the room to take a sharp intake of breath - Lazarus. It sends a chill, until of course the sax takes over from where the voice should be and then it takes off, with the closing section containing some absolutely remarkable playing from McCaslin, who was on fire all evening. Then, a lovely surprise, the very familiar drum part of Look Back In Anger kicks in and off we go. The room was electrified. If you'd never seen a jazz gig before, or if you'd seen 100, this was a top class night.

blog image: 
    16 March 2017
    McCaslin’s Warszawa video exclusive and live review

     

    “The jazz of life”

     

    We’ve mentioned Donny McCaslin and his band and the magnificent work they contributed to David Bowie’s Blackstar album and the No Plan EP more than once on these pages.

     

    We also told you about Donny’s solo album, Beyond Now, in October last year.

     

    Here’s an excerpt from a piece about it taken from the Guardian’s review...

     

    + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

     

    The experience of creating music with Bowie proved so deep, and its aftermath so jarring, that McCaslin decided to turn his new album, Beyond Now, out 14 October, into a tribute. It includes several transformative covers of Bowie songs, including Warszawa from Low, and A Small Plot of Land from Outside, along with a song McCaslin wrote inspired by a piece Bowie left off Blackstar.

     

    + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

     

    Now Donny and the band have created a stylishly moody video to accompany their haunting version of Warszawa, and Donny kindly gave us the heads up. Here it is.

     

    Keep up to date with all of Donny’s goings-on on his FB page.

     

     

    #BowieMcCaslin  #DonnyMcCaslinBeyondNow  #DonnyMcCaslin

     

     

    One of the very best gigs we attended last year, was Donny’s amazing performance at the London Jazz Festival in November. Check out a review of that show by Time Out writer, Liz tray.

     

     

    Donny McCaslin, EFG London Jazz Festival – Rich Mix, November 15. Review by Liz Tray

     

    Make no mistake, Donny McCaslin, this genial giant sax player from California, has had a distinguished career in jazz. He's spent nearly three decades carving out a groove in modern jazz playing, starting with filling the huge shoes of Michael Brecker in the legendary fusion group Steps Ahead. With three Grammy nominations to his name, he's become the trusted right-hand man of bandleader Maria Schneider, herself a multiple Grammy winner. The dreaded term 'crossover' has come to be applied in jazz to artists who break out of the somewhat closed jazz world (closed to mainstream rock/pop fans, in that sense) and make a break across the aisle. In the 70s it was Herbie Hancock who did it, and even before then Miles Davis - the greatest jazz artist of all time - had broken the mould, with Kind Of Blue becoming the best-selling, and most famous, jazz album of all time.

     

    Historically, plenty of pop musicians (looking at you, Sting) have sought out jazz players on their records to give them a bit of cool. And as a lifelong jazz fan, Bowie was no different, taking on saxophonist David Sanborn and trumpeter Lester Bowie to play on his records, among others. Even Mike Garson, of course, is a jazz player. As we all know, Bowie was one of the great casting directors of our time. But beyond bit parts - musicians popping up - he had never given over an entire record to jazz musicians, until Blackstar. Everyone knows the story. He wanted to continue his collaboration with Schneider after their magnificent foray with Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime) in 2014. But she had already committed to The Thompson Fields project. So she pressed a copy of McCaslin's Casting For Gravity into his hand (having sent him the track Stadium Jazz first) and suggested they visit Greenwich Village's Bar 55 to see his quartet (with Mark Guiliana, Tim Lefebvre and Jason Lindner). McCaslin says he spotted Bowie sitting at a table with Schneider, and tried to keep calm, as you would, and just concentrate on playing. Shortly after, he got an invite to perform on what would turn out to be Bowie's last album. Since then, one imagines, his feet haven't touched the ground as suddenly, this brilliant, powerful quartet have become among the most famous jazz musicians in the world.

     

    During a short European tour, McCaslin's group (minus Lefebvre, whose regular gig - with the arena-filling Tedeschi Trucks Band - called; replaced by Jonathan Maron) dropped into Shoreditch's Rich Mix, packing out the overheated main room and shaking the walls. They'd dropped into London to play some stuff from his new Beyond Now album, a follow-up to last year's excellent Fast Future. You could tell the crowd had some Bowie fans at their first jazz gig present; they looked a bit shell-shocked. As I heard someone say, listening to jazz on record is hardly like seeing it live. It's so much more visceral, muscular, and frankly, louder than you can imagine, especially with a fusion quartet like the one McCaslin leads. The bass thundered. Lindner's synthesiser textures lent a cosmic vibe reminiscent of the early 70s electric work of Keith Jarrett when he was playing with Miles. Guiliana's complex, intricate drumming evoked the greats; one can feel comfortable comparing him to all-time greats like Elvin Jones and Jack DeJohnette, alongside recent masters like Brian Blade and Kendrick's drummer Ron Bruner Jr. That's how good he is. Get his 2015 album Family First, you won't regret it.

     

    McCaslin leads this band through twisting and turning renditions of songs new and old. You might have expected Warszawa to be on the setlist, and you'd be right. The band closed with it. Less expected but incredibly welcome were two more Bowie songs. First, one that caused the room to take a sharp intake of breath - Lazarus. It sends a chill, until of course the sax takes over from where the voice should be and then it takes off, with the closing section containing some absolutely remarkable playing from McCaslin, who was on fire all evening. Then, a lovely surprise, the very familiar drum part of Look Back In Anger kicks in and off we go. The room was electrified. If you'd never seen a jazz gig before, or if you'd seen 100, this was a top class night.