Alto saxophonist and producer David Binney has become a ubiquitous presence in jazz in the last 20 years fronting his own bands while appearing with Donny McCaslin
, Uri Caine
, Joel Harrison
, Edward Simon
and Bobby Previte
. He might be considered the logical next step in jazz saxophone after Wayne Shorter
and Michael Brecker
remains in an orbit by himself), never mind that he is not a tenorist. Binney has been sharpening his direction over his last two recordings ( Aliso
(Criss-Cross, 2010) and Third Occasion
(Mythology Records, 2009)) on his way to Graylen Epicenter
which achieves a certain anxious stateliness that is quite cutting edge.
The title track, "Graylen Epicenter," is the lengthiest piece on the one- hour-plus recording. It possesses many moods and movements, the most provocative being Wayne Krantz
's funky R&B guitar solo early on in the piece. The introduction is a modal march over which Binney, tenor saxophonist Chris Potter
and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire
spin their discursive silk. Krantz spins, slaps and snaps his way through James Brown
by way of Jaco Pastorius
, sounding at once like an electric bass and an electric guitar. His playing is very melodic and soulful. A head break incorporates the vocalization of uber
-siren Gretchen Parlato
and Binney seconding the horns. Binney takes a long solo with a noisy rhythm section, making what has become his brand of jazz: assertive, overt, confident. All of these are reasons why Binney is at the center of jazz.
Personnel: David Binney: alto and soprano saxophones, vocal; Gretchen Parlato: vocal;
Ambrose Akinmusire: trumpet; Chris Potter: tenor saxophone; Craig
Taborn: piano; Wayne Krantz: guitar; Eivind Opsvik: bass; Brian Blade:
drums; Kenny Wollesen: percussion, vibes; Rogerio Boccato: percussion.