Donny McCaslin Group | Green Mill | Jazz | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.

Donny McCaslin Group 

When: Fri., Feb. 8, 9 p.m. and Sat., Feb. 9, 8 p.m. 2013
Price: $15
Over the past few years veteran tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin has come into his own, not just by playing in Dave Douglas’s quintet but also by making a series of considered and ambitious solo albums on which he injects his protean playing with raw, expressionistic fervor. On 2011’s Perpetual Motion he uses aggressive electronic instrumentation, but that hardly prepared me for the full-on attack of last year’s Casting for Gravity (Greenleaf Music), which contains a species of fusion energized by the kinetic rhythms of IDM and drum ’n’ bass more than by funk or rock—he even includes a cover of Boards of Canada’s “Alpha and Omega.” His ridiculously tight band (keyboardist Jason Lindner, electric bassist Tim Lefebvre, and drummer Mark Guiliana) brings out a pounding vitality in McCaslin’s busy, shape-shifting tunes, whose disparate parts scrape, collide, and interlock—the performances are so dense they can sometimes feel airless. The saxophonist plays with a granite-hard tone, navigating his mazelike constructions with total assurance, but as much as I enjoy the album, I usually feel spent after listening to it. And from what I’ve read, onstage this band opens up the material and ramps up the intensity. —Peter Margasak



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