California native Donny McCaslin grew up with a vibraphonist father and by 12, was playing with his father's group. In high school, he formed his own band and played the Monterey Jazz Festival three years running. In the 1980s, he won a full scholarship to the Berklee College of Music, where he met musicians such as Gary Burton and George Garzone. In his senior year he joined Burton's quintet, and toured Europe, Japan, and the Americas. He later moved to New York and joined Steps Ahead, replacing his idol Michael Brecker. In the late 1990s, along with alto sax player David Binney, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Kenny Wollesen, he formed Lan Xang, an experimental jazz collective. Perpetual Motion (2011) is his first foray into electric funk. After playing on David Bowie's Blackstar, McCaslin dedicated him his last album Beyond Now (2016).