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In Pursuit

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 5, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

With certain musicians play, you get the feeling that they re on a level above their peers. And what s more, it seems to come easy to them. Current saxophonists that fit this mould include Chris Potter, Joe Lovano and Kenny Garrett. Add Donny McCaslin to that list. Donny McCaslin with his new project In Pursuit delivers an exceptionnal album. Great compositions, great musicianship, great soloists. With McCaslin, the musicians on this record are all first rate and include Dave Binney (as), Ben Monder (g), Scott Colley (b), Antonio Sanchez (dr), and Saturnino Pernel (perc).

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One of the pleasures of recent jazz has been watching tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin emerge from the pack and establish himself as one of the prime voices of his generation. Unlike many products of Boston's Berklee School of Music, he has developed a robust sound and freewheeling style. Consisting entirely of original compositions, In Pursuit carries through the Latin influences of its first-rate precedessor, Soar, while also engaging in compelling "outside" blowing and thoughtful balladry that showcases his flute playing. McCaslin's interplay with a pair of foils, alto saxophonist Dave Binney (who produced the album) and guitarist Ben Monder, is consistently exciting. Even when he looks back on classic styles, he is looking ahead. --Lloyd Sachs
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 5, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 30
  • Label: Sunny Side Records
  • ASIN: B000PHW2HW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,874 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Donny McCaslin (tenor s. and flutes) leads a sextet gathering David Binney (alto s.), Ben Monder (guitar), Scott Colley (bass), Antonio Sanchez (drums) and Pernell Saturnino (percussion).

the first song "a brief tale" is a great intro with a tenor-percussion duet.

the third cut, "madonna" is "binneyesque". ("young lion" of alto saxophone david binney is also the producer of this lovely album)

in the fourth cut, "sea of expectancy" ben monder leads the song but it's not "monderesque". mccaslin's flute, and binney's alto extend the music beyond expactations...

after this lovely balad, an electrified and avantgarde cut, "in pursuit" exhibits the energic side of this extremely talented band.

"village natural" sounds like a latin and even like a david sanchez song. latin effects arise from the use of percussion in general and from the melodic lines partly throughout the album. after a short and catchy song "send me a postcard", latin effects make its top in the eighth cut, "fast brazil".

the last song "festival in 3 parts" is a long and modernist farewell.

all are original. all are beautifull. enjoy them...
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Like Ari Hoenig and Jean-Michel Pilc, McCaslin keeps the time open, but with more than a trio. No head/solo/head forms. Although he sometimes plays 'too many notes', it's in more of a Coltrane wall-of-sound modal way. The compositions give a warm homey feel reminiscent of String Cheese Incident, almost anthem-like, but in a good way. I've only sampled his other albums, but this seems much more successfully impressionistic. My fave of the year so far.
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I originally rated this 4 stars, but the more I listened the more it grew no me, so I'm switching to 5 stars. I highly recommend this CD. the more you listen to it, the more you'll like it.
Here is my original review->
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In Pursuit is the first Donny McCaslin CD I've heard. I thought the album was a great foundation for what I hope will lead to more albums by this group of musicians. McCaslin and the guitar player, Monder have great chemistry on the album which is highlighted on the title track where they chase each other with simultaneous frenetic solos. There is some great Sax harmony on the 3rd track Madonna where the alto sax player, Binney and McCaslin play intertwining melodies. There are two things, which keep this album from being a 5-star masterpiece. At times the songs don't sound cohesive. It is difficult to blend saxes & guitars without a piano, and at times the sound doesn't blend so well. A strong bass line is needed to meld it together, and the bass line seems to be absent or barely audible on many of the tracks. Also at times McCaslin over-dominates goes off on a blowing session with just him and the percussionists. McCaslin is, in my opinion the premiere sax player right now, and although I love hearing him wail, I would have preferred to hear more dialog between him Monder & Binney (while being supported by the percussionists).
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After a listening to this CD more and more, the only flaw (and its a very minor flaw) I find it it is that Scott Colley should have a more dominant bass line to meld together the different parts. I'm not knocking Scott, I've heard him on other CDs and he's a great player. He just wasn't given a big enough role in this one.
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