The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

REVIEW: Donny McCaslin – ‘Beyond Now’ (Motema Music)

  • 6/10
    - 6/10


‘Beyond Now’, an album dedicated to David Bowie by his ‘Blackstar’ band-leader Donny McCaslin, is musically complex but easy to follow.

Donny McCaslin is the frontman of the New York jazz band that deployed their services on David Bowie’s Blackstar before he sadly passed away in January this year. He has dedicated his newest album Beyond Now “to him [Bowie] and all who loved him.”

As Blackstar was my only point of reference for anything that McCaslin has ever done before, the feel of the album is not what I was expecting at all. Instead of the dreamy and almost haunting sounds of Blackstar, Beyond Now sounds like it is taking us on a journey through time and space. It feels complicated but at the same time there is something strangely familiar and easy to follow coming through the erratic and experimental saxophone that McCaslin gives us on this album.

There is no way I could ever claim to be an expert in jazz, but this album made more of an impression on me than most jazz I have previously encountered – but whether I’ll come back to it at any point though I’m not sure. The Bowie influence can easily be detected on this album; it even features a cover of ‘Warszawa’ from his 1977 album Low, and had he not left us this year it sounds like something he could have easily been involved with. (6/10) (Jesse Casey)

Listen to Beyond Now here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!

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