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Watch Donny McCaslin and His Band Play "FACEPLANT"


Or would the better title be “FACEMELT”? In any case, the tune is an original from  saxophonist Donny McCaslin's recent album Beyond Now. Take a look at this galvanizing, live-wire video, which has its full premiere here, and you be the judge.

McCaslin and his crew — Jason Lindner on keyboards, Tim Lefebvre on electric bass and Mark Guiliana on drums — were thrust into the spotlight early in 2016 for their crucial contribution to David Bowie’s Blackstar. I wrote about that connection recently, on the occasion of a new EP released one year later to the day. 


Beyond Now is the album that McCaslin’s band released months after Bowie’s death, and in certain respects it’s a tribute. But it’s also a celebration of the raw finesse of these musicians’ cohesion — the thing that Bowie loved about the band in the first place.




“FACEPLANT” (the typography is part of the title, like an angry tweet) probably amounts to the most flat-out aggressive track on the album, the one that pushes its output farthest into the red. Set in a breakneck 7/8 meter, with a melody inseparable from its frenzied vamp, it’s a tune that gives every member of the band a reason to rage. 


In this video, it’s Lindner who delivers the most out-of-this-world performance — don’t miss his solo, which begins after the 2:30 mark, with a line that could be an urgent transmission from another dimension. But Guiliana is also thrashing hard and fast, Lefebvre is holding it down with punk energy, and McCaslin brings his usual imploring heat to the mix.


The Donny McCaslin Quartet is currently on tour. Among its upcoming dates: March 6 at Blues Alley in Washington D.C., March 7 at Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia, March 16-19 at The Jazz Showcase in Chicago, and April 1 at Zankel Hall in New York. For more dates and information, visit donnymccaslin.com.