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Kneebody & Donny McCaslin
Presented by PDX Jazz and Soul'D Out
September 25, 2018 | 8:30 pm- $25 – $30
“One of the smarter bands blenderizing postbop, indie rock, hip-hop and classical music” – The New York Times
Kneebody‘s sound is… explosive rock energy paralleled with high-level nuanced chamber ensemble playing, with highly wrought compositions that are balanced with adventurous no-holds-barred improvising. All “sounds-like” references can be set aside; this band has created a genre and style all its own.
Kneebody bassist Kaveh Rastegar thinks of their sound this way, “Personally, I think calling Kneebody “jazz” or “electric jazz” is fantastic because then we can move on from that hang-up and play our music — and alter expectations of what ‘jazz’ is.”
Kneebody is keyboardist Adam Benjamin, trumpeter Shane Endsley, electric bassist Kaveh Rastegar, saxophonist Ben Wendel and drummer Nate Wood. The band has no leader or rather, each member is the leader; they’ve developed their own musical language, inventing a unique cueing system that allows them each to change the tempo, key, style, and more in an instant.
The quintet met in their late teens while at The Eastman School of Music and Cal Arts, became fast friends, and converged together as Kneebody amid the vibrant and eclectic music scene of Los Angeles in 2001. Since then, each band member has amassed an impressive list of credits and accomplishments over the years all while the band has continued to thrive and grow in reputation, solidifying a fan base around the world.
“We are a democratic, equally owned-and-operated band with shared leadership,” says Shane Endsley. “Everyone brings in music and everyone votes on everything. And it’s always been just the five of us.”
Kneebody draws upon influences spanning D’Angelo’s Voodoo to music by Elliot Smith, Bill Frisell, and Miles Davis. Their live shows are known for intense sonic landscapes of the Radiohead ilk, for the rhythmic bombast of a Squarepusher or Queens of the Stone Age show, and the harmonic depth and improvisational freedom experienced at a Brad Mehldau concert.
In 2005, Kneebody released their debut self-titled album Kneebody on Dave Douglas’ Greenleaf Music Label. Low Electrical Worker followed in 2007 on the Colortone Label. A collection of 13 original songs, Low Electrical Worker was hailed by saxophonist Joshua Redman as one of his “favorite albums of 2007.” In the spring of 2009, Kneebody and vocalist Theo Bleckmann released 12 Songs of Charles Ives on the Winter & Winter label and received a GRAMMY nomination in the “classical crossover” category. 2013 saw the release of The Line for Concord Records. In 2015, Kneebody’s groundbreaking collaboration with electronic musician Daedelus on Kneedelus was released on Flying Lotus’ imprint Brainfeeder records to praise from critics and audiences alike. Kneebody looks forward to their debut release on Motéma Records in 2017.
Three-time GRAMMY® nominee Donny McCaslin is the leading saxophonist, composer, and musical pioneer of his generation, receiving wide commercial and critical acclaim in jazz, rock and electronica circles alike. With 12 albums to his name, McCaslin is best known for his collaboration and friendship with the late David Bowie, who tasked McCaslin to work hand-in-hand on his final album, Blackstar. “It was like a dream except it was something I never could have dreamed of,” reflects Donny. “David Bowie was a visionary artist whose generosity, creative spirit, and fearlessness will stay with me the rest of my days.” The result was Beyond Now, McCaslin’s latest album dedicated to Bowie. Since its release on Motéma Music in 2016, Beyond Now has garnered praise from Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, The New York Times, Associated Press and more.
While many have discovered McCaslin for the first time since the release of Blackstar and Beyond Now, his prominent career is over 25 years in the making. He’s no stranger to the PDX audience as he presented Black Star at the Mission Theater in the Spring of 2017. Kneebody was last through Portland on the 2017 Festival at the Winningstad Theater and has made a couple of previous appearances at Mississippi Studios, Kneebody + Daedelus = Kneedelus.