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South Milwaukee — The Donny McCaslin Group, jazz musicians featured on rock icon David Bowie’s final album, “Blackstar,” will perform their first and only scheduled Milwaukee appearance at South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center (SMPAC) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13.

Donny McCaslin has been hailed as a “game-changing jazz saxophonist,” who along with the other members of his band, were sought out to perform on Bowie’s last album.

“Presenting the Donny McCaslin Group is part of our mission of bringing creative, innovative and diverse artists to Milwaukee,” said Rachel Sorce, SMPAC executive director. “In the past, SMPAC has presented contemporary jazz musicians and composers such as Robert Glasper and Jason Moran. We believe that a high-profile artist like Donny McCaslin can enrich the appetite for modern jazz music in Milwaukee and put a spotlight on Milwaukee’s own rich jazz scene.”

McCaslin’s background

As a collaborator, McCaslin is well known for his standout playing in the Maria Schneider Orchestra (featured on the David Bowie collaboration “Sue,” along with his 2005 Grammy Nomination for his solo on Concert in the Garden).

As a composer and bandleader, McCaslin’s albums illustrate his ability to redefine the genre of improvised music. Nowhere is this more apparent than his 2015 release “Fast Future.”

The music combines funk, breakbeats, and electronic dance music all centered around McCaslin’s ability to balance melody and groove, blending jazz and electronica with virtuosic musicianship.

This album includes keyboardist Jason Lindner, bassist Tim Lefebvre, and drummer Mark Guillana. Recently all were a part of music history as they provided David Bowie the music for his final album Blackstar. Rock icon David Bowie delivered his last artistic breath through jazz. In a recent cover story featured in Downbeat, McCaslin recalled Bowie’s advice to him, “You should go further into electronica territory. I totally agreed. I was feeling that myself and the end result was Casting For Gravity.” On reflecting why Bowie might have chosen McCaslin, Donny said this, “We’re not a straightahead group. We’re playing some edgy stuff—we’re pushing boundaries. My overall sense is that he was into that.”

Described by the Ottawa Citizen as “The Sonny Rollins of his generation,” Donny McCaslin is a three-time Grammy nominated saxophonist and composer who has inspired a new generation of performers.

Going to the show

Tickets are $34 for adults, with discounts for seniors and students. For tickets, visit www.southmilwaukeepac.org or call (414) 766-5049. For more information about the Donny McCaslin Group or the details for this tour, visit donnymccaslin.com.

South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center provides the greater Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin communities with creative, innovative and diverse performing arts. In addition to hosting an annual Performing Arts Series, SMPAC also serves the students of South Milwaukee and is a professionally-managed rental facility for other presenters, organizations and groups. More than 500 performances, rehearsals, classes and other events take place at SMPAC each year.

The Performing Arts Series is sponsored in part by Courtyard Marriott Milwaukee Airport, Classic Cargo International Inc., Emerald City Catering, TASC Services LLC., and Ken Cook Co. Performances are supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of WI and the National Endowment for the Arts.

South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center is inside of the South Milwaukee 6-12 campus, 901 15th Ave., between College and Rawson Avenues. Free parking is located in the northwest parking lot. Patrons should enter door No. 9.

A version of this article originally appeared under Your Stories on SouthMilwaukeeNow.com. Send press releases to news@jrn.com.

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