Donny McCaslin, the beloved avant-rock-jazz saxophonist and bandleader, has emerged from the shadow of his collaboration with the late David Bowie on Blackstar with his latest album, I Want More. McCaslin reunites with the same exceptional ensemble that graced Bowie’s swan song, however this time around McCaslin is determined to push the boundaries of his sound, venturing further into even more audacious terrain.
The album opener, ‘Stria’, seems to serve as a statement of intent, absorbing you in a slew of frenzied saxophone and electronics that only gets wilder over its five minutes of length. McCaslin’s saxophone soars with exhilarating fluidity while Jason Lindner’s keyboards provide a foundation that oscillates between ethereal atmospherics and angular synth lines. The rhythmic backbone, anchored by the powerhouse duo of bassist Tim Lefebvre and drummer Mark Guiliana, propels the music forward with an undeniable energy. McCaslin’s musical vision is audacious, but his band’s remarkable tenacity ensures that the exploration never feels disjointed or uninspired.
Tracks like ‘Body Blow’ and ‘Landsdown’ are prime showcases for the band’s ability to seamlessly blend intricate improvisations with catchy stadium-like melodies, resulting in compositions that are both intellectually stimulating and emotionally resonant. McCaslin’s ability to keep things accessible in the midst of all the chaos and noise is especially commendable, and the album’s sheer sense of drama leaves a lasting impression.
I want more too, Mr. McCaslin.