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. Couching his trademark gift for brawny melodies in lurching dub rhythms, swirling electronica-inspired atmospheres, and arena-rock power, McCaslin has crafted a game-changer of an album, fusing a wealth of forward-looking influences into one wholly new modern jazz sound.
After the guest-star-drenched No Reason to Cry failed to make much of an impact commercially, Eric Clapton returned to using his own band for Slowhand. The difference is substantial – where No Reason to Cry struggled hard to find the right tone, Slowhand opens with the relaxed, bluesy shuffle of J.J. Cale's "Cocaine" and sustains it throughout the course of the album…
Saxophonist Donny McCaslin brought a fresh perspective to the acoustic-electronic jazz soundscape with 2012's Casting for Gravity (Greenleaf Music) which earned a Grammy nomination for "Best Instrumental Jazz Solo" for the track "Stadium Jazz." Thankfully it was not a one-off as McCaslin reassembles the tightly knit band and savvy production from saxophonist David Binney in Fast Future, a release that continues the groove factor.
To describe saxophonist Greg Ward's Touch My Beloved's Thought as his magnum opus is to impede his development as a composer. Let's just say for many a jazz artist, if this recording were included in their discography, it would be their signature piece. For Ward, it just represents the possibilities.
A few years ago the trumpeter-composer Dave Douglas released “Be Still,” a beautifully poignant album made in response to the loss of his mother. The album also formally unveiled his new band, a young quintet with the creative resources to hit the ground running. “Brazen Heart,” Mr. Douglas’s assured new release, showcases the same group at a more advanced stage in its evolution, as he again tries to transcend grief with art.
If Eric Benet’s career can be defined by anything, it’s the purity of emotion. He’s consistently made music that speaks to love and speaks from the soul and on Lost In Time he does it once again. Featuring duets with Faith Evans, Chrisette Michele, Ledisi and the O’Jays Eddie Levert, Lost In Time is at once a sumptuous homage to and an expansion of the sweet soul of the 1970’s.