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David Binney: Anacapa

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Some artists move forward in great leaps and bounds, while others evolve more slowly, over longer periods of time. David Binney is one of those rare musicians who manage to do both. While a sampling of some of his recent albums, such as Bastion of Sanity (2005), Cities and Desire (2006) and Aliso (2010l, all on Criss Cross) paint a picture of the saxophonist as evolutionary, others, like 2009's Third Occasion and 2011's Graylen Epicenter (both on Binney's Mythology Records imprint) suggest he's capable of more revolutionary leaps forward as well. Even his most recent Criss Cross record, 2013's uncharacteristically ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Binney: Anacapa

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Listeners who have followed alto saxophonist David Binney's extensive discography know that rock is an intrinsic ingredient of his music. While the rock influence is almost always present, Binney's regular releases and appearances on Criss Cross Records have usually remained rooted in acoustic jazz. On Anacapa, Binney takes Criss Cross Records in a much more electric direction than the label has ventured before. With a total of ten musicians credited with contributing to the music, Anacapa ranks among Binney's most ambitious work. It continues in a similar direction as his 2011 release, Graylen Epicenter and features entirely ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

David Binney: Lifted Land

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In a career that seems to go from strength to strength and milestone to milestone, it's hard to imagine how David Binney manages to not only release one terrific record after another, but to do so, in some cases, under some pretty constricting terms. Like the five other albums that the influential saxophonist/composer has recorded as a leader or co-leader for the Dutch Criss Cross label--most recently 2010's Aliso and the following year's Barefooted Town--producer and label owner Gerry Teekens gave Binney just one day to record Lifted Land at their usual digs, Michael Marciano's fine Systems Two Recording Studios ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Binney: Barefooted Town

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Since founding Mythology Records in 1998, tireless alto saxophonist David Binney has alternated between issuing ambitious projects on his own label and cutting casual blowing sessions for the Netherlands-based imprint Criss Cross. Continuing this pattern, Barefooted Town is Binney's second release of 2011, following the expansive Graylen Epicenter (Mythology). Despite the limited studio time afforded Binney's Criss Cross dates, this set's intricate originals have more in common with his elaborate Mythology-based endeavors than his usual stripped-down efforts for the Dutch label, such as last year's cover tune-dominated Aliso (Criss Cross). In addition to honing an instantly recognizable voice ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Binney: Barefooted Town

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Saxophonist David Binney broke new ground with Graylen Epicenter (Mythology, 2011), which was a world unto itself, and shortly before that, he delivered Aliso (Criss Cross, 2010)--a jagged set of music featuring original works and some compositions from visionaries like Sam Rivers, Wayne Shorter and John Coltrane. With Barefooted Town, Binney returns for another outing on the Criss Cross label, bringing a whole batch of originals along for the occasion. While this music contains the rhythmic twists and turns, and challenging ideas that have come to be expected in Binney's work, it's actually his most easily digestible date of late. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Binney: Barefooted Town

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Alto saxophonist/composer David Binney must not worry about “market saturation." He releases albums, as a leader for both Criss Cross and his own Mythology label, at a rate that many top jazz artists did during the late 1950's and early 1960's. Less than six months into 2011, he has already offered up Graylen Epicenter (Mythology) and now, on Criss Cross, Barefooted Townunder his own name, in addition to sideman and producer gigs over the years for artists like saxophonist Donny McCaslin, trumpeter Alex Sipiagin and bassist Scott Colley.Barefooted Town, in a standard Criss Cross Records mode of operation, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Binney: Barefooted Town

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Politics isn't the only thing that increasingly demands clear vision and steadfast commitment (even if it isn't getting it). In the jazz world--where the changing landscape makes getting heard one challenge, acceptance by a broader culture that views “jazz" as a dirty word another--it takes artists with unshakable resolve to stay the course. David Binney has not only honed an instantly recognizable compositional language without the trappings of predictability, he's become a mentor for younger artists, mixing and matching from a gradually increasing cadre of players. Binney continues alternating between releases on his own Mythology label--where the saxophonist has the ...

INTERVIEWS

David Binney: Underground Tremors

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There are recordings that constitute a personal high watermark for a composer; then there are, less frequently, recordings that mark an era. Graylen Epicenter (2011), alto saxophonist David Binney's latest recording on his own label, Mythology Records, is both. For more than two decades, this exhilarating alto saxophonist has made a string of absorbing recordings as leader that have cemented his reputation as one of the most exciting and original musicians/composers in New York. By his own admission, Binney has never put more energy into anything as he has for Graylen Epicenter, aided by regular Binney collaborators ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Binney: Graylen Epicenter

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Undoubtedly one of the great alto saxophonists, David Binney's reputation as an original, exciting composer has also grown steadily since his debut recording, Point Game (Owl Records, 1989). Binney is so prolific a musician that it's sometimes hard to stay abreast of his current projects. However, there is little chance of Graylen Epicenter going unnoticed. With this recording Binney raises the bar, playing sublimely and drawing outstanding performances from an A-list of New York collaborators, clearly inspired by the leader's epic compositional terrain. Intensity and grace dovetail throughout; on “All of Time," a beautiful motif morphs into ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Binney: Graylen Epicenter

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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 (Sonny Rollins 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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Binney: Graylen Epicenter

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19th-century German novelist Berthold Auerbach is long forgotten by the masses in modern day society, but his best-known quote about music, “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life," still lives on but pays no mind to the fact that some of the finest music can be reflective of everyday life. The human population experiences a daily yin and yang built of creation and destruction, hope and despair, joy and anger, simplicity and complexity, order and chaos, and a variety of other contrasting principles. Alto saxophonist David Binney's Graylen Epicenter is a microcosm of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Binney: Graylen Epicenter

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Saxophonist, composer and producer David Binney, a progressive artist with one foot in the mainstream and the other in the avant-garde, has gracefully skirted the tenuous divide between traditions for over two decades. Regularly alternating between semi-casual blowing dates and far more ambitious projects, Binney follows up the relatively straight-ahead Aliso (Criss Cross, 2010) and lavish Third Occasion (Mythology, 2009) with the expansive Graylen Epicenter. Featuring a host of Binney's longstanding associates, this wide-ranging session offers a compelling portrait of the enterprising artist's multifarious skills.A singular talent with an affinity for sophisticated, contrapuntal arrangements, Binney's harmonious writing facilitates ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Binney: Graylen Epicenter

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Even with artists whose eyes are always on a dangling carrot that keeps them moving relentless forward, there are albums where quantum leaps are made. Since 2005, alto saxophonist/composer David Binney has been alternating between small ensemble, inherently quick-and-dirty sessions for the Dutch Criss Cross label like Aliso (2010) and more ambitious projects on his own Mythology label, including the particularly excellent Third Occasion (2009). If Third Occasion found Binney's reckless yet unerringly focused playing and instantly recognizable and influential writing at a new peak of combined form and freedom, then Graylen Epicenter takes it all a step further, with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Binney: Aliso

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For Aliso, reedman David Binney wanted to get back to “doing things that have been part of my life since I was a kid." It's clear that any time is a good time for a happy childhood, because both Binney and his band dive into Aliso like 10 year-olds on vacation at Disney World.

The opening title track has a gritty New York feel reminiscent of the mid-century era Criss Cross likes to revisit. The groove is complex and rich, and the street-tough foundation work of pianist John Escreet and bassist Eivind Opsvik lets drummer Dan Weiss put just enough ...



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