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Donny McCaslin played at Teviot Row on Thursday night as part of the 2019 Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival.

This was a genre crushing performance from Donny McCaslin with his band featuring two other players who appeared on David Bowie’s final album ★, Tim Lefebvre on bass and Jason Linder on keys.

McCaslin has previously played in the city’s Henry’s Cellar Bar but this was his first leading and it was a night to savour. Guitarist Jeff Taylor handles lead vocals on a number of tracks alongside McCaslin on backing. Funky art-rock opener What About The Body begins with a sax vamp that resembles Guns N’ Roses Welcome To The Jungle and from there we go in many different directions.

There are moments such as Break The Bond where band and audience were on a different plane with McCaslin getting wonderfully lost in the moment.

One of many standout tracks was the driving Shake Loose, this was heavier than Slayer one minute, the next it was steering towards a 70s Weather Report vibe.

On drums, Zach Danziger was a joy to watch throughout. Eye Of The Beholder was a poignant closer from current album Blow and tonight live it continues to soar. For the encore, McCaslin delivered a pulsating version of Bowie’s Look Back In Anger which suited this band down to the ground while reminding us pop music can be experimental and edgy.

Fans in Bowie t-shirts grinned from ear to ear. McCaslin is happy to have them along for the ride.  

PHOTO Richard Purden