Alto saxophonist Binney (a member of the band Lost Tribe) explores many frameworks within modern jazz with a mostly larger ensemble, at times as many as twelve pieces, or splintered. They include some of the better jazz oriented musicians of the last two generations; tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin, bass clarinetist Doug Yates and Jamie Baum, flutes. Pianist Ed Simon, drummer Jeff Hirshfield and percussionists Kenny Wollesen and Daniel Sadownick are extraordinary, guitarist Adam Rogers, bassist Scott Colley, trombonist Clark Gayton and trumpeter Alex Sipiagin are up-and-comers to be taken seriously.
It would be easy to view these pieces, all written by Binney, as vehicles for the leader to blow on, and in some obvious cases like "Oddman," Binney and Hirshfield do work out. But his compositional mettle should not be dismissed, that is his first instrument on the finely crafted CD. The eleven selections are wide ranging and profound, there's some special music happening here, collectively and individually. "Jalama" is ECM spatial, "One Year Ago" is hymn-like. The stealth "Girl Of The Southern Sky" and the following track "Voice Of Reason," with unison horns, inspired piano from Simon, counterpointed saxes extending into bass and piano unison labrynth searches, act as a suite. There the tension and release of "The Mondello Line," the seven beat call and response of "Where The Rain Shines," and the avant touches of "I Lie Waiting." As a player himself, Binney's coming out of a slightly Michael Brecker-ish, melodic, progressive, post-modern stance, stopping just short of abstract. He sounds like himself, and insists, as in the liner notes, that this music speaks for itself. To come to any such realizations, a listener will have to purchase this excellent CD, and judge for themselves. We highly recommend, if you want to hear some new, original contemporary jazz inflected music, that you do pick this one up.