David Binney

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Aliso Review

by Michael G. Nastos

What David Binney has termed an old-school-type blowing session project, the acclaimed alto saxophonist presents perhaps his most straight-ahead, mainstream jazz album. It's certainly not without angular melodies or forward-thinking notions, especially considering Binney is teamed with fusion guitarist Wayne Krantz, but the tandem melody lines they form are consistently accessible and easy to enjoy. Pianist Jacob Sacks plays on the majority of these tracks (with Jon Escreet on the others,) as his reputation is steadily emerging as one of the top-drawer and sought-after sidemen, with leadership in his not-too-distant future. Binney himself has one of the most distinctive sounds on his instrument, balancing the sweet and sour aspects of his horn together with Krantz on the light-funk title track, and heavier "Bar Life" which recalls his previous and brilliant album South in collaboration with Chris Potter. Fresh covers of Thelonious Monk's "Think of One," Wayne Shorter's "Toy Tune" or "Teru," the exceptional hard bop version of the Sam Rivers-penned "Fuchsia Swing Song," and a lengthy adaptation of John Coltrane's massive "Africa" all show Binney's ability to broaden his appeal without compromising his vision. His alto on the latter selection where 'Trane's tenor was, gives pause to Binney's daring spirit that seems limitless. It's another exceptional effort in the career of a musical artist deserving of all accolades.

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