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Donny McCaslin

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Donny McCaslin is originally from Santa Cruz California where, as a toddler, he first listened to jazz by attending his father’s vibraphone/piano gigs. At 12, Donny picked up the tenor sax, and became proficient quickly. By 15, he was gigging around town, both as a sideman and as a leader of his own bands. Before he graduated high school, Donny toured Europe with the Monterey Jazz Festival’s California All-Star Big Band, and studied at Cabrillo College with arranging great Ray Brown.

He won a full scholarship to Boston’s Berklee School of Music, where he played with many jazz greats, including a four year stint traveling the globe with Gary Burton. After completing his Masters degree, Donny moved to New York, where he enjoyed sideman success with many notorious bands including Steps Ahead, Danillo Perez, Eddie Gomez, Dave Douglas, Ken Schaphorst, and Maria Schneider.

His recorded work has enjoyed critical acclaim, including a 2004 Grammy nomination for “Best Jazz Instrumental Solo” on Maria Schneider’s Concert In The Garden, and the 2008 Down Beat Rising Star Award. His work as a leader has met with great success including a Doris Duke grant for new jazz composition from Chamber Music America; resulting in his recording “In Pursuit”. Although Donny is a very broad minded artist, and plays styles from many eras and regions of the world, in most press interviews he acknowledges John Coltrane as his preeminent influence.

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