For years, saxophonist Donny McCaslin has been the quintessential jazz musician. A virtuoso improviser, he’s been a vital part of the New York jazz scene for two decades, equally at home in his own small groups or as a sideman with the Maria Schneider Orchestra. McCaslin, who grew up in Aptos, was also largely under the radar – at least outside of the tight-knit jazz community.
All that changed though in 2015 when the late rock star David Bowie picked McCaslin as his musical collaborator on what would become his final album – Blackstar. McCaslin was more than just a guest soloist, he was a co-equal with Bowie on the art rock album. Now McCaslin is coming back to Central California with a gig headlining this weekend’s Bakersfield Jazz Festival Friday night at the CSUB Amphitheatre. FM89’s Sunday Night Jazz host David Aus recently spoke with McCaslin about the experience of working with Bowie and his current tour.