Donny McCaslin

David Bowie's Blackstar

It was in many ways a dream come true although I'm not sure I could have dreamed of such a thing. And now I'm equal parts sad and grateful for everything that has happened. David Bowie was an inspiration to work with and Blackstar is a testament to the time Mark Guiliana, Tim Lefevbre, Jason Lindner, Ben Monder, and I spent with him last year.


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Fast Future

Fast Future reprises the stunning electro-acoustic quartet on Casting for Gravity–an album that earned McCaslin a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Instrumental Jazz Solo. Fast Future finds McCaslin hurtling further into the crossroads between jazz & electronica with virtuosic musicianship.

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Casting For Gravity

Acclaimed saxophonist Donny McCaslin takes a bold leap forward with his tenth album as a leader, Casting for Gravity. McCaslin’s gargantuan tenor sound finds an ideal setting to rampage through in the ferocious grooves and electronic textures of keyboardist Jason Lindner, bassist Tim Lefebvre, and drummer Mark Guiliana.

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Perpetual Motion

Never sounding more confident, McCaslin delves into angular post-bop, rich, polyphonic funk, ethereal balladry, and so much more.

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Donny McCaslin (tenor sax), Ben Monder (guitar), Scott Colley (bass), Ed Simon (piano), Antonio Sanchez (drums), with Pernell Saturnino (percussion), Alex “Sasha” Sipiagin (trumpet), Tatum Greenblatt (trumpet), Chris Komer (horn), Marshall Gilkes (trombone), and Marcus Rojas (tuba/bass trombone)

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Recommended Tools

Recommended Tools is the 7th release from 2008 Downbeat Rising Star Poll winner Donny McCaslin. It is also his first for Dave Douglas' Greenleaf Music label. McCaslin has been performing with Douglas' highly publicized Quintet since 2005, as well as receiving a Grammy nomination for his work with the Maria Schneider Orchestra in 2004. His latest release, Recommended Tools finds McCaslin for the first time working in a trio setting. With bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Johnathan Blake, McCaslin has made this highly emotive format a vehicle for his virtuosic blowing and distinct compositional voice. Trenched in free-flowing arrangements with dynamic interplay between the band, this work harkens back to the classic trio recordings of Sonny Rollins and Joe Henderson. And while a classic format, McCaslin retains his progressive approach and inventiveness citing Bill Frisell, Hermeto Pascal, Stravinsky and Messiaen as inspiration for these compositions.

"fruitful and expressive"
- New York Times

"If this is one tenor player’s major announcement of his presence in his horn’s elite, it’s a ripper."
- Buffalo News

"[McCaslin's] finest record as an improviser."
- Downbeat

"A brilliant take on the hallowed tenor trio tradition, Recommended Tools is not only a high water mark for McCaslin, but one of the most beguiling records of the year."
- AllAboutJazz

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In Pursuit

Donny McCaslin waited until his sixth album to use the title In Pursuit (released June 5 on Sunnyside). But the concept of pursuit – single-minded devotion to a distant goal, marked by inventive exploration – has characterized his music almost from the beginning.

Thanks to the high profile of the Dave Douglas Quintet, McCaslin in the last two years has achieved wider praise for the incisive twists and purposeful turns of his emotionally charged solos. But those qualities – along with his sometimes startling virtuosity, and his distinctive voice as a composer – had actually been on display for much of the previous decade, during which McCaslin proved himself a valued sideman on recordings by Danilo Perez, Luciana Souza, and performances with Tom Harrell, Brian Blade, John Pattitucci, The Mingus Band, and Pat Metheny. Meanwhile, the previous albums under his own name have shown him subtly incorporating elements of Latin American music within adventurous jazz frameworks.

In 2006, McCaslin received a Doris Duke Grant for new jazz composition from Chamber Music America; In Pursuit comprises the results of that work.


Produced by saxophonist Dave Binney, Soar showcases McCaslin’s silken sax sound, and his equally adept flute work, are supported by an all-star array of musicians headed by label mates Luciana Souza from Brazil, and guitarist Ben Monder, along with Curacao percussionist Pernell Saturnino, Pat Metheny drummer Antonio Sanchez, pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Scott Colley, trumpeter Shane Endsley and Luis Bonilla. The 9 tracks reflect McCaslin’s musical diversity, and his rare ability to blend seemingly far-flung styles. The opening selection "Tanya" is a spirited 'percussion discussion with Saturnino propelling McCaslin to festive Sonny Rollins/"St. Thomas" style heights. "O Campeao," "Be Love," and the title track, are syncopated in similar fashion, contrasted by the "In a Silent Way" plectral shadings of "Grafton," "Laid Bare," "Push up the Sky," and the dreamy ballad "Hero as a Boy." The concluding composition, "Merjorana Tonosiena," closes the CD with an Afro-Andean dance vibe that is festive and folkloric.

Give and Go

A 2004 Grammy nominee for his solo work on Maria Schneider's Concert In The Garden, Donny McCaslin performs more often as a sideman extraordinaire (Steps Ahead, Danilo Perez, Brian Blade, Maria Schneider Orchestra, Mingus Orchestra) than as a leader.

On his fourth solo album and Criss Cross leader debut, the 39-year-old saxophonist-composer, joined by an A-list quintet (John Swana, trumpet; Steve Cardenas, guitar; Scott Colley, bass; Gene Jackson, drums) presents seven melodic, harmonically meaty originals and a fresh arrangement of Thelonious Monk's Eronel.

The Way Through

Exile and Discovery