The saxophone that curls wistfully just before David Bowie sings “Look up here, I’m in heaven” on his farewell album Blackstar? It was played by Donny McCaslin.
It was the Californian jazz musician’s moment of glory, but McCaslin had already been playing exciting music for more than thirty years. He has been especially active in the underground, but also in the company of masters like the American vibraphonist Gary Burton and the Canadian pianist Gil Evans. His own work was initially dominated by acoustic instruments, but more recently, McCaslin lets his own instrument collide with electronica and industrial guitars, like on the recent Beyond Now.