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.
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 also released Anti-Hero, their Motéma Records debut album, in March of 2017
As the bandleader on David Bowie's final album Blackstar, saxophonist Donny McCaslin witnessed firsthand the musician's penchant for reinvention. With his upcoming studio album -- a daring fusion of vibrant electronica, and bombastic alt-rock due this fall -- McCaslin applied that mindset to his own work. "Before working with him, things like this didn't seem possible to me," McCaslin says of his new material, which arrives two decades into an acclaimed career. "The affirmation of that project and how wonderfully that turned out artistically -- I feel like anything is possible now."
The first taste McCaslin has offered from his forthcoming full-length is "What About the Body," a raucous, propulsive blast of improvisational alternative music that encapsulates his bold new direction. For the single, McCaslin recruited Blackstar bassist Tim Lefebvre and "brilliant songwriter and lyricist" Ryan Dahle (Limblifter, Mounties). The track's heady blend of saxophone and flute, pianos and Wurlitzer, electric bass and pummeling drums captures McCaslin's core roots while also bringing in more recent influences such as Radiohead and Bon Iver. And delivered by Dahle, the tune's forceful lyrics -- "Left-wing, right-wing / What about the body?" -- hint at modern unrest. "One interpretation could be the state of America right now," McCaslin explains. "To me, that's a provocative thought: What about the body, the soul of America?" Taken together, the elements signify McCaslin's next thrilling chapter.