Preview: Declaration, Donny McCaslin

I can’t say enough good things about Donny — and not just because we’ve released a record of his. Fantastic dude and one helluva player. It was a pleasure to work with him on his first trio record last year. And now, he has a new release, Declaration, on Sunnyside Records coming out on the 11th of August. They and Donny have been kind enough to allow us to stream a tune from the record here on the blog. Click on the track name on our sidebar player to listen to the the title track.

Better to let Donny inform about where the project came from…

From an interview at AllAboutJazz: “After my last recording, Recommended Tools, which is a trio recording on Greenleaf Records, I wanted to shift gears and do a larger project that would push me into new areas composition-wise and orchestration wise, so the overall idea was for me to get into new and different territory as a composer and as an improviser,” McCaslin says. “I hadn’t written for a brass group before so this was new for me. Initially the idea was having the brass as padding but the more I wrote the more involved the brass became. The addition of brass gives me more options to play off as an improviser as well.”

I was lucky enough to get an advance of the tunes and have been listening intently since.

Donny seems just as comfortable writing moodier tunes like the title track (streaming), as he does writing more angular tunes like the aptly titled burner “Rock Me” (check out Donny and Monder ripping on that!). And track-to-track, there are so many great moments of tension and release that make this such a pleasurable album in full. Two tunes from the Recommended Tools sessions get the large-ensemble treatment, too. One of those, “Late Night Gospel,” is one of my favorite DM tunes and here it closes Declaration in the most beautiful way.

More from Donny…

“I wanted this to be a beautiful record as it was recorded just before the birth of our daughter Claire,” McCaslin says. “She’s here now and is such a blessing to my life. My hope is that this record conveys some of feelings that have run so strongly through me during the process of birth and new parenthood; joy, wonder, and tremendous love.”

Highly recommended that you preorder this record. A must have IMO. Click here to go to the Amazon page.

The group: Donny McCaslin (tenor sax), Ben Monder (guitar), Scott Colley (bass), Ed Simon (piano), Antonio Sanchez (drums), with Pernell Saturnino (percussion), Alex “Sasha” Sipiagin (trumpet), Tatum Greenblatt (trumpet), Chris Komer (horn), Marshall Gilkes (trombone), and Marcus Rojas (tuba/bass trombone)