Donny McCaslin is the winner of the Paul Acket Award 2017, a prize awarded yearly by the festival and presented to an artist deserving wider recognition for their extraordinary musicianship.
The saxophonist is known for his progressive fusion sound. He plays in several bands and orchestras, and has worked with varied musicians including Antonio Sánchez, David Binney, Scott Colley, and Danilo Pérez.
Fresh out of Berklee College of Music, he started his career with Gary Burton and after that played with Steps Ahead, among others. As a sideman in Maria Schneider's orchestra he has been nominated for a Grammy several times (Best Jazz Instrumental Solo and Best Jazz Improvised Solo). He made his first own album in 1998 and did his first Dutch tour in 2008.
Last year, the saxophonist surprised audiences by collaborating with David Bowie on the latter's impressive final album, Blackstar. Late last year McCaslin released his album Beyond Now, a posthumous tribute to Bowie.
“2017 is Donny's year, and it is well deserved.”, according to jury member Maurin Auxéméry of Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. “With an adventurous mind and an incredible control of his instrument, this saxophonist is one of the main musicians of his generation. I am glad his collaboration with Bowie has put him in the spotlights.”
The Paul Acket Award, as well as the North Sea Jazz for Kids, is supported by the BNP Paribas Foundation and has been since 2011. Jean-Jacques Goron, Managing Director of the Foundation: “A longstanding partner of jazz music, the BNP Paribas Foundation has been helping numerous musicians to forge their career, including Cécile McLorin Salvant and Tigran Hamasyan, who were awarded the prize in previous years . As a main partner of the Paul Acket Award, we wish to congratulate Donny McCaslin. Revealed by his instrumental skills and his inventiveness among the Maria Schneider Orchestra, deeply inspired by his collaboration with David Bowie on the album ‘Blackstar’, the saxophonist is also an imaginative composer whose music is open both to the avant-garde and to current genres. His last album ‘Beyond Now’, recorded side by side with Mark Guiliana, Tim Lefebvre and Jason Lindner, confirms this. We wish him all the best.”
Donny McCaslin will receive his prize at the festival where he will perform on Sunday 9 July.