How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Binney is known to many as the sax genius of Lost Tribe and his skill is no less evident herein in Binney's chosen dreamworld, a musical vibe, a flow, where he is free. Running his own record label, going the freshly popular independent route, affords total control and thus creativity and style unbounded by the prickly hedges of commercialism's maze.
Believe me, this spirit works well to my ears. Binney's eleven compositions echo a fuller, matured Lost Tribe feel in places, "Goddess", "Jalama", and "Oddman" for example, without the biting egde of electric guitar. The Tribe's Adam Rogers does classical guitar. Instead of crunch there is wonderfully lush and driving piano by Edward Simon. Also filling out the sound is tenor sax by Donny McCaslin, Scott Colley on bass, and Jeff Hirshfield on drums this trio being Binney's bandmates in Lan Xang. "Jalama" recalls the fine sound of ECM's Gallery and their self-titled release. "Oddman" has Binney doing that frenetically, synco-sweet Steve Coleman blow. Still, it is all Binney and not in any way unoriginal. This is simply great jazz a new feel yet built on firm standards. There is much to wallow in, relax to, happening here but an easygoing undercurrent of introspective tension holds interest. No lounge jazz, dentist office stuff to be had here.
On "The Mondello Line" a haunting reed solo intros, calling the lonely Muse of another world and in reply bass, drums, acoustic guitar, and more sax reply wonderfully augmenting, blending and lending resolution. Wonderful. Title track, "Free To Dream" is a rhythmically warm, night breeze along the coast of some uncharted Caribbean isle. Swaying, swooning, grooving, the dance unfolds, neath silhouette of palm tree and ancient pier.
"I Lie Waiting" is a surreal prelude opening the way for the strangely avant-garde realms of "Sea of Allurement". I would say only this last track briefly strays away from the prior cohesiveness of this release. It is experimentation in sound-splashed minimalism and progressive. It takes nearly 5:30 to establish any melodic structure in this interesting 9:09 piece. High recommendations for this uniquely sax-driven jazz.
Other musicians guesting: Kenny Wollesen - Percussion Daniel Sadownick - Percussion Alex Sipiagin - Flugelhorn, Trumpet Clark Gayton - Trombone Jamie Baum - Flutes Doug Yates - Bass Clarinet