His band’s work supporting David Bowie on his final album, “Blackstar,” has moved saxophonist and composer Donny McCaslin’s Group into the spotlight in the last couple years, and the pride of Santa Cruz, California is ready for it.
Expounding on the legendary pop star’s finale, McCaslin told us that Bowie was looking for his quartet to keep doing what they’d been doing on their then-new album “Fast Future” – a blend of electronic atmosphere, smart compositions and free-flowing improvisation. The chance to make the music on the “Blackstar” album was “a life changing experience” he says, and has led to the Group’s new release, “Beyond Now,” dedicated to and inspired by David Bowie.
Despite the loss of keyboard player Jason Lindner to a bicycle accident which left him in a trio format for the first of two nights at Seattle’s Jazz Alley, McCaslin found plenty of support in a rare duet performance live on 88.5 with the multi-instrumentalist (guest guitarist on “Beyond Now,” and drummer for modern jazz act Kneebody) Nate Wood on electric bass. His own tune “Shake Loose” was followed by the recent Bowie tune “Lazarus,” and we also heard an original composition so new it has yet to be titled.
“Just having the opportunities to play this music, to develop it, it’s like a dream come true, to realize this music on a consistent basis,” he says. Our KNKX studio audience found the music simply dreamy, and we can’t wait to hear what this busy musician will come up with next.
Donny McCaslin (sax) and Nate Wood (bass)