All About Jazz members are invited to enter the Greenleaf Music Donny McCaslinPerpetual Motion giveaway contest starting today. We'll select FIVE winners at the conclusion of the contest on February 24th.
Two winners will receive the Perpetual Motion bundle pack, which includes the Perpetual Motion CD, the Recommended Tools CD and the digital sheet music for Perpetual Motion.
Two winners will receive the Perpetual Motion CD.
One winner will receive the Perpetual Motion download.
It becomes immediately apparent within the first few seconds why Donny McCaslin has named his new CD Perpetual Motion (Greenleaf Records). The man is a tenor saxophone-blowing force of nature, unleashing new, mind-numbing ideas at the speed of light, his lips keeping pace with his brain as he turns down one avenue, juts down another and always keeps those of us on the receiving end guessing just where he'll head next.
The 10-track album, recorded this past September in New York, is a feast of colors, sonics, styles and moods. Accompanied by a brilliant cast of collaboratorsAdam Benjamin and Uri Caine (splitting Fender Rhodes and piano duties), Tim Lefebvre (electric bass), David Binney (alto saxophone and electronics) and Antonio Sanchez and Mark Giuliana alternating on drumsMcCaslin delves into angular post-bop, blistering polyphonic funk, backbeat-driven R&B, delicate and ethereal balladry, all without compromising his distinct compositional voice.
Perpetual Motion is not for the faint of heart. Building upon ideas McCaslin brought to the fore in his critically acclaimed previous effort, 2009's Declaration, and making a 180-degree turnaround from 2008's sparse trio record Recommended Tools, Perpetual Motion takes off with a powerful blast. The opening track,'Five Hands Down,' gives the rhythm section an opportunity to unleash its fury before McCaslin even steps up front to wail. Next, the 12-minute-plus title track unfolds tentatively and coolly but before you know it McCaslin is on a tear, fully exploring every nook and cranny the melody presents him and pushing the limits as if constant reinvention is the easiest thing in the world to do.
Throughout, Perpetual Motion serves up one elegantly framed showcase of the band's gifts after the other. 'Memphis Redux,' as its title implies, is all about the funk, but not in any standard senseonly Donny McCaslin does it this way. As he does for the bulk of the set, Benjamin proves the ideal foil for McCaslin here, digging deep inside of the groove and reaching for the sky till the tune's visited places most of us would never even imagine it could.
Each track claims and takes ownership of its own niche: 'Impossible Machine' and 'Claire' are post-bop at its post-boppingest; 'L.Z.C.M' cranks up the electronic gizmos in a most satisfying, walking-on-the-edge kind of way; 'Firefly' is both soothing and surreal as its vibe twists and turns in all kinds of spacey ways; and the elegiac, album-closing 'For Someone,' showcasing Caine's rich pianistry, is so sweet and comforting that it makes you wonder just who that special someone is. Even the half-minute 'East Bay Grit,' composed by Caine, Lefebvre and Giuliana, adds its voice in a significant way.
McCaslin wears many hats: Downbeat's Rising Star Poll Winner, Grammy-nominated soloist for Maria Schneider Orchestra, heavy-blowing sideman in Dave Douglas' Quintet, Mingus Dynasty, effective bandleader and composer, and touring machine. And, of course, he's an exceptional saxophonist whose epic solos avoid clich like the plague and serve as their own stimulus package.
Now, he has proved the possibility of perpetual motion, the idea that a mechanism can produce more energy than it consumes in the process. The All Music Guide has said that McCaslin is conversant with the tradition but forging his own compositional and instrumental voice." What an understatement never has that been truer than it is on Perpetual Motion.