McCaslin's versatility kept him employed, but he also sought more challenging avenues of expression. In 1994 he joined three other like-minded musicians to form the experimental avant-jazz quartet Lan Xan, an experience that undoubtedly helped him become a member of one of the most acclaimed groups in new music, the Dave Douglas Quintet.
At the same time McCaslin began to release his own CDs, and his playing on the two most recent releases is particularly strong. He has developed a personal approach that is strongly rooted in tradition, referencing elements of various tenor sax masters but without any overt imitation. Like many others of his generation, he is not constrained by generic boundaries; he is particularly fond of various kinds of Latin music and blends its sounds and rhythms with the sophisticated harmonies of contemporary jazz. He comes to the Kerrytown Concert House on Friday, March 21, with a very fine group of musicians, including saxophonist Steve Wilson.
[Review published March 2008]