David Binney has established himself as an innovative saxophonist, an innovation that has been born of daring driven by a motivation that seeks the unusual. He has locked on to the highway of expressive thought playing with inspired invention to lend his music a lucid immediacy that is hard to ignore.
Binney has formed a core quartet with Scott Colley (bass), Brian Blade (drums) and Craig Taborn (piano) on Third Occasion. It's an enviable line-up for the simple fact that each can confront a composition and impose changes and trajectories that rattle common expectation. Binney extends the parameters by adding a brass section consisting of Ambrose Akinmuire (trumpet), Brad Mason (trumpet, flugelhorn), Corey King (trombone) and Randy Hunter (trombone).
Binney's writing reflects an organic development. He is no longer content to be awash in the mainstream. Having made that move, he lets complexity chart his course before he dissects it into clear and precise compartments.
Binney has a distinct feel for mood. He reshapes it on the turn of a note, and what was once a quiet interlude can turn into a pumping rhythm and pulse.
"Blood of Cities" has the air of classical music. Binney unfurls the mellifluous, his tone liquid and resplendent only to let it fall away when he returns for a deeply etched grain to turn the whole around, only to return for a final gentle ministration. The rhythm section is sympathetic and adheres closely to the front line to give the song a nice body. Coley is introspective, letting his notes dwell just enough to savor the moment and then blending that with a more emphatic run. The twin streams open the vista and stamp the impress on a well-conceived path.
"Here is All the Love I Have" is a ballad that is woven in the breathy strands of the alto. Blade and Colley add rhythmic cells, the former touching lightly on the cymbals. The band is a marvel of succinct expression, as passion speaks in soft and eloquent tones.
Binney comes up with yet another winning notch on his already impressive discography.
Personnel: David Binney; alto saxophone; Craig Taborn: piano; Scott Colley: bass; Brian Blade: drums; Ambrose Akinmusire: trumpet; Brad Mason: trumpet & flugelhorn; Corey King: trombone; Andy Hunter: trombone.