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The Third Annual El Cerrito Jazz Festival is taking place on Saturday, February 11, 2017 in the ECHS Performing Arts Center! The festival will feature workshops, master classes, clinics, concerts, and adjudicated performances from top high school groups from around the San Francisco Bay Area.
Headlining the evening concert is the Donny McCaslin Group, featuring Donny McCaslin on tenor sax, Jason Linder on keyboards, Tim Lefebvre on bass, and Mark Guiliana on drums. With three GRAMMY® nominations and 11 albums to his name, McCaslin’s path to Bowie and Beyond Now can be traced back to 2011 with the release of his album Perpetual Motion, taking on an electric direction for the first time in contrast to his previous acoustic projects. Two subsequent albums Casting for Gravity (2012) and Fast Future (2015) released with his working band were directly influenced by electronica artists (covering groups such as Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, and Baths), which netted McCaslin a 2013 GRAMMY® nomination for “Best Improvised Jazz Solo.”
The once in a lifetime opportunity to work with David Bowie came after composer Maria Schneider, a longtime collaborator, recommended McCaslin and his group to Bowie. Schneider and Bowie were collaborating on the track “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime),” which featured McCaslin as a soloist. In June 2014, Bowie heeded Schneider’s advice and made a visit to hear McCaslin and company at the 55 Bar in Greenwich Village. Soon after, Bowie began corresponding with McCaslin over email and sending music, forming a new collaboration and friendship that transpired through the recording of Blackstar until Bowie’s passing. The result is Beyond Now, which documents “David Bowie’s Last Band” as they were processing both their grief and Bowie’s distinctive impact.
“This new album is an expression of that journey for all of us,” says McCaslin. “David allowed Blackstar to be what it was going to be regardless of how people might have categorized it. More than anything, it was his fearlessness in crossing musical boundaries and genres in his music and life that inspired the risks I’m taking in Beyond Now. I am indebted to Bowie for showing me the risks and rewards of going for your uncompromising musical vision.”
Our distinguished panel of adjudicators and clinicians include Dan Galey from Kansas University, Dr. Aaron Lington from San José State University, Joe Mazzaferro from Stanislaus State University, Gary Pratt from the California State University, Northridge, and Rob Tapper from the University of Montana.
2017 Festival Documents and Schedule
ECJF Festival Sponsors: