All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

18

Binker and Moses: Alive In The East?

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Something wonderful is happening in London in summer 2018. A disruptive musical movement, led by an inter-connected community of young musicians, is taking jazz in vibrant new directions and finding enthusiastic new audiences. Hybridisation is the name of game, which reflects London's cultural diversity by absorbing locally created styles such as grime and broken beat within the music's traditions. Many of the new movement's auteurs and at least half of the players are black. Nothing like this has happened in Britain before. Not on this scale anyway.

The scene embraces nu-fusion, Afrobeat-inspired dance-centric bands, shamanic spiritual-jazz and free jazz. Binker and Moses, led by tenor saxophonist Binker Golding and drummer Moses Boyd, can best be described as playing semi-free spiritual jazz. Alive In The East? is the group's third album, following Dem Ones (Gearbox, 2015) and Journey To The Mountain Of Forever (Gearbox, 2017). Like its predecessors, it was recorded live, with no edits or drop ins. As on Journey, the group includes saxophonist Evan Parker and trumpeter Byron Wallen, representing older generations of London experimentalists, and harpist Tori Handsley and drummer Yussef Dayes, contemporaries of Golding and Boyd. Handsley is the least well known member of the lineup. She is remarkable. Her approach here has little connection with Alice Coltrane or Alina Bzhezhinska, eschewing glissandi and approaching the harp instead like a twangtastic, acoustic bass guitar.

The music's default position is ferocity. But discordancy is not a feature—the emphasis is on solo rather than collective improvisation, so avoiding the cacophony that is a characteristic of much full-on free jazz. Jumping-off points are provided as much by Boyd's beats as Goldings's harmolodic centres. Motor rhythms are ever present, not so much grooves as urgent pulses, pushing the music forward. The result is a whirlwind. It can rip the hair clean off the back of your neck.

It is impossible to pin a precise start date on London's emergence as a new global centre of jazz innovation. Movements such as this start with hints and ellipses before morphing incrementally into reality. An early marker was undoubtedly Sons of Kemet's debut, Burn (Naim), in 2013. But that album had a significant precursor in its producer and drummer, Sebastian Rochford's band Polar Bear, which debuted on disc ten years earlier. Certainly, an identifiable movement had coalesced by 2014, the year Golding and Boyd first recorded together in singer Zara McFarlane's band.

Significant recordings since then include Shabaka Hutchings's Wisdom Of Elders (Brownswood, 2016), recorded in South Africa with South African musicians but focused on Hutchings's spiritual-jazz aesthetic; keyboard and drums duo Yussef Kamaal's Black Focus (Brownswood, 2016); trumpeter Yazz Ahmed's La Saboteuse (Naim, 2017); Zara McFarlane's Arise (Brownswood, 2017); Sons of Kemet's Your Queen Is A Reptile (Impulse!, 2018); the various-artists project We Out Here (Brownswood, 2018), featuring Maisha, Ezra Collective, Triforce, Kokoroko and line-ups led by Hutchings, Boyd, tuba player Theon Cross and saxophonist Nubya Garcia; keyboardist Kamaal Williams's The Return (Black Focus, 2018); flautist Tenderlonious's The Shakedown (22a, 2018); and keyboardist Joe Armon-Jones's Starting Today (Brownswood, 2018). All these albums have been reviewed here.

2018 is an exciting time to be a jazz fan in London. It must have been fun like this to be on 52nd Street in the mid 1940s. But no greater fun, surely.

Track Listing: Binker Golding: tenor saxophone; Moses Boyd: drums; Evan Parker: tenor and soprano saxophones; Byron Wallen: trumpet; Tori Handsley: harp; Yussef Dayes: drums.

Personnel: The Birth Of Light; How Land Learnt To Be Still; The River’s Tale; How Fire Was Made; How Air Learnt To Move; Children of the Ultra Blacks; Mishkaku’s Tale; The Discovery Of Human Flesh; Beyond The Edge; The Death Of Light.

Title: Alive In The East? | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Gearbox Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road CD/LP/Track Review
Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 25, 2018
Read 8 Songs CD/LP/Track Review
8 Songs
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Facing Dragons CD/LP/Track Review
Facing Dragons
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Brothers CD/LP/Track Review
Brothers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2018
Read The Fearless Flyers CD/LP/Track Review
The Fearless Flyers
by John Bricker
Published: September 24, 2018
Read "Taktlos Zurich 2017" CD/LP/Track Review Taktlos Zurich 2017
by John Sharpe
Published: August 26, 2018
Read "A History Of Nothing" CD/LP/Track Review A History Of Nothing
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 21, 2018
Read "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To" CD/LP/Track Review You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 24, 2018
Read "Bright Force" CD/LP/Track Review Bright Force
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 19, 2018
Read "Blue Maqams" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Maqams
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 3, 2017
Read "Wrong Turns And Dead Ends" CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017