Two and a half years ago, David Bowie released Blackstar days before his death (read Staff Writer Alex Marianyi’s review). The album, Bowie’s final masterpiece, put front and center a jazz band, namely saxophonist Donny McCaslin’ Quartet comprised of keyboardist Jason Lindner, bassist Tim Lefebvre and drummer Mark Guiliana, in a move that would perplex some yet delight many. Despite McCaslin’s extensive, acclaimed career, his experience collaborating with Bowie was so profound that it altered how he approached his craft. “His aesthetic in the studio was, ‘Go for what you’re hearing, don’t worry about what it’s going to be called or categorized as,'” McCaslin recalls of the late icon. “‘Let’s have some fun. Let’s make some music.'” Now, two and a half years after Blackstar‘s release, McCaslin returns with Blow., a new definitive statement that fully realizes Bowie’s influence and McCaslin’s evolved artistic direction.
The core of Blow remains Bowie’s Blackstar acolytes: McCaslin, Lindner, Lefebvre and Guiliana, but the album goes a step further by featuring a top-notch cast of musicians which include Sun Kil Moon’s Mark Kozelek, fellow Bowie collaborator Gail Ann Dorsey, longtime collaborator Jeff Taylor, and singer-songwriter Ryan Dahle (Limblifter, Mounties). “The idea was to just really go for exploring these collaborations and documenting everything,” explains McCaslin, adding that the project had a “good gestation process” and developed “in a way that didn’t feel rushed.” McCaslin emphasizes Blow.‘s “wide range of moods,” some of which will sound familiar to longtime McCaslin fans. Others not so much, as they span prog and art rock, down-tempo quiet storm, instrumentals influenced by Beastie Boys, A Tribe Called Quest and more.
For a foray into McCaslin’s ever-evolving musical universe, make sure to watch the video for the lead single “What About the Body”. Blow is slated for an October 5th release via Motéma Music and concert dates in support of the album can be found at the bottom of the post.
Donny McCaslin Tour Dates
September 1: Aarhus Jazz Festival, Denmark
September 8: Stowe Jazz Festival, Stowe, VT
September 11: The Foundry, Philadelphia
September 12: Union Stage, Washington DC
September 13 -14: Rough Trade, Brooklyn, NY
September 15: Sinclair, Boston, MA