Well known for his work with Dave Douglas’ quintet and the Maria Schneider big band, saxophonist Donny McCaslin will be the featured artist at the 2012 Miles Davis Jazz Festival on April 14, 8 p.m., at Aycock Auditorium.
Steve Haines, director of the UNCG Miles Davis Program Director in Jazz Studies, says, “I really love his tune ‘Late Night Gospel.’ It comes from a Stravinsky theme.”
Also what Haines loves is the value McCaslin’s visit brings to the music students. “This is the best part! Donny sent us a number of trio and quartet songs, which the students are orchestrating into music for 18 people strong, the UNCG Jazz Ensemble. They are learning so much. They are doing a lot of listening. For many of them, this is their first foray into big band writing. They have spent hours and hours of work preparing for this.”
It will make for an evening to remember. “Every arrangement on the concert will be a world premiere. It’s tremendously exciting for all of us, and so far everything sounds really, really good,” Haines says.
What does Haines look forward to, that evening? Two things, he explains: “For me, it will be hearing all of this great music realized….. I will also look forward to hearing Donny playing live.”
A reviewer in Jazz Times called Donny McCaslin “a versatile player who moves easily between inside and outside musical zones . . . . [T]here’s a fluidity and grace to his playing even when he’s pushing at envelopes,” according to his online biography.
In 2006, McCaslin received a Doris Duke grant for new jazz composition from Chamber Music America, his biography notes. His latest CD, “In Pursuit” is the result.
Purchase tickets at www.uncg.edu/euc/boxoffice/tickets.
By Mike Harris