Dave Binney is picking up the tempo: with eight dates as a leader since 2002's Afinidad and numerous successful collaborations as a "side"-man, the alto saxophonist is coming into his own as an artistic presence.
Coniferous Revenge was recorded by bassist Michael Herring's Vertigo, a group of Toronto-centric musicians including Binney, Jesse Baird (drums), William Carn (trombone), Quinsin Nachoff (tenor sax) and Don Scott (guitar). Binney is in fine fettle throughout, offering up a series of passionately articulate solos, as on "S-ow-ss , "Monkey , "Urn and "Couldn't Make it Through/My Songbird , ranging from hyperactive impatience to quirky indecision to slow-smoldering overdrive. Nachoff, equally ebullient and boisterous, is an apt and ample stylistic foil for Binney. Herring's writing is consistently strong, particularly his ensemble arrangements (Scott's guitar is often used as a fourth "horn ), several of which exploit Nachoff's clarinet and bass clarinet; many of the bassist's compositions include effective interlude sections and free-blowing zones. Carn takes extended turns on three tunes, building long statements from short ideas; Baird leads a short charge on "Urn , but is mostly content to support and supplement his bandmates.
Océanos is a balanced collaboration between Binney and Edward Simon, a Venezuelan pianist of considerable accomplishment who evinces traces of Western classical, Latin American and straight-ahead jazz as parts of his eclectically individual stylistic aesthetic. Featuring a core rhythm section of Scott Colley (bass) and Brian Blade (drums), the recording also includes Luciana Souza (vocals), Adam Rogers (guitar), Shane Endsley and Jesse Newman (trumpets), Alan Ferber (trombone) and Pernell Saturnino (percussion). The writing here sounds deceptively simple, in part because the complex rhythmic and harmonic shifts are handled with facility and flair, in part because the melodies are ear-friendly and the arrangements get straight to the point. Binney's solos are consistently excellent: "Amnesia builds to an organic apex; "El Parrandero simmers and smoulders, lengthening into long funky lines before gently cooling down; "Twenty Four Miles to Go features intense but clearly conceived contours, reiterative riffs waxing into melodic arcs; and "Impossible Question-Reprise percolates like a caffeine rush. But Binney is only a part of the sumOcéanos contains a full palette of moods and modes, a satisfying mix of two artists bringing out their mutual best, with more-than-able-bodied assistance from the band-at-large.
Tracks & Personnel
Tracks: S-ow-ss; Clancy's New Belt Free Home; ...but I don't have the time.; The Mindtaker; Through Two Panes of Glass; Monkey; Coniferous Revenge; First Mentor; Shouting at Squirrels; Urn; Couldn't Make it Through/My Songbird.
Personnel: David Binney: alto saxophone; Jesse Baird: drums/percussion; William Carn: trombone; Quinsin Nachoff: tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet; Don Scott: guitar; Michael Herring: double bass.
Tracks: We Dream Oceans; Impossible Question; Amnesia; El Parrandero; Govinda; Twenty Four Miles to Go; Impossible Question - Reprise; Home.
Personnel: David Binney: alto sax; Edward Simon: piano; Scott Colley: bass; Brian Blade: drums; Luciana Souza: vocals; Adam Rogers: guitar; Shane Endsley: trumpet; Jesse Newman: trumpet; Alan Ferber: trombone; Pernell Saturnino: percussion.