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Perpetual Motion

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 25, 2011
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 25, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Greenleaf Music
  • ASIN: B004685VTC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,373 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Donny Mccaslin Store

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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Here we have the latest offering from the NYC based saxophonist Donny McCaslin. In my opinion McCaslin is a talent deserving wider recognition. His voice on his primary sax the tenor is a mixture of the past greats, to my ear the late Michael Brecker's influence is present as well as the great father of modern jazz tenor Wayne Shorter. Despite his influence's Donny has developed a signature sound on tenor that's very distinct & a singular compositional style that to my ears aims to blend the past with the present & future. That brings us to Perpetual Motion which is his first album for Dave Douglas's record label Green Leaf which if you've followed Donnie's career path will come to no surprise because McCaslin replaced Chris Potter in Douglas's quintet. I always like to say a few words about the supporting cast of a given album, this album features some of NYCs most in demand sidemen. On keys is the fantastic Uri Caine a Philly native who is like a musical chameleon either leading his funky fusion group Bedrock or the opposite extreme playing acoustic jazz with Dave Douglas. Uri delivers! Adam Benjamin plays Fender Rhodes & other electric boards on the majority of the tracks, he plays excellent support laying down funky accents or lush chordal pads with the rhodes. On electric bass appearing on all ten tracks is the funky groove machine Tim LeFavbe. Tim gets a really dark & slightly dirty bass tone that is fat & supportive when down low but adds just enough highs & mids to his sound to allow nice note clarity & definition, he steps on several synth & envelope style effects pedals to augment his clean tone and the effects are used with taste. Two very awesome drummers spilt the tracks almost in half. Antonio Sanchez plays on tracks 1-6 & Mark Guiliana is on 7-10.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Overview:

Perpetual Motion is another great release by Donny McCaslin. The album is full of dramatic themes, blazing solos, romping bass lines, and nice touches of electronics. It has a real modern feel to it without sounding to "fusiony". Generally I'm not a fan of the electric bass, but it really works here. Tim Lefebvre does a masterful job of avoiding electric bass clichés such as cheesy thumb slapping and keeps a clean jazzy, walking bass line sound throughout. McCaslin, who in my opinion is the best tenor sax soloist out there today, shreds over the top of a canopy of post bop, fusion, electronica, and funk. The album is produced by frequent McCaslin collaborator, Dave Binney. In addition to producing the album, Binney plays sax on one track and adds electronic effects throughout the album. The album, which is on Dave Douglas' Greenleaf label, features several Douglas alumni, including Adam Benjamin and Uri Caine. Here is the complete list of performers:
Donny McCaslin - tenor sax all tracks
Adam Benjamin - fender Rhodes & piano tracks 1-7 + 9
Tim Lefebvre - electric bass all tracks
Antonio Sanchez - drums tracks 1-5
Mark Guiliana - drums tracks 6-9
Uri Caine - piano tracks 4,10 Fender Rhodes & piano track 8
Dave Binney - alto sax track 9 + electronics on all tracks.

Song Highlights:

Perpetual Motion - This tune starts off slowly as a meandering post bop tune. At about the 1-minute mark it builds to a dramatic theme, which leads into a cool piano/bass riff and then a McCaslin solo. Eventually everything but bass and drums fade out and McCaslin tears it up trio style. After a ferocious solo by McCaslin Benjamin offers a surreal solo on the Fender Rhodes. The end of the song is just killer.
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Format: Audio CD
Well, it's about time. After slogging through an assortment of heinous smooth jazz albums cropping up left and right I was dying for some real jazz and here it is...funk jazz at its finest! If you are interested in cheesy salsa beats and drum machines then avoid "Perpetual Motion" at all costs. If you want inventive, creative compositions played by skilled musicians then this album is for you.

Sometimes gliding effortlessly and sometimes honking madly, Donny McCaslin's starring role as tenor sax soloist is never dull or uninspired. Each track glides seamlessly one into the next, hence "Perpetual Motion". Nice title aka thematic device! Overall, there's a lot to love here including brilliant compositions, great improvisation, competent blending of styles (funk, jazz, electronica), and masterful technique (great intonation, dynamics, etc). There's a lot of variety and personally I'd say this effort almost borders on experimental, creating a kinky neo-jazz vibe. Also, considering the fact that McCaslin is the star of the show, it's nice to see every section shine whether it be the electric piano in "Firefly", the drums in the interlude "East Bay Grit", or the aching piano composition in "For Someone". This alternating between different types of improvisation and instrumentation brilliantly breaks up the monotony.

Stand out tracks include the indelible "Firefly" with its ultra somber tone and superb use of the electric piano aka fender rhodes. This track is so atmospheric and spacey I'm convinced it would've made the perfect backdrop for a Hendrix solo...sounds like something out of 'Electric Ladyland'. "L.Z.C.M." features a whole lot of bass while the sax (occasionally) takes a backseat. Love the saxophone, but playing with funky bass lines is a welcome respite.
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