823

David Binney Quartet at L'Astral in Montreal, May 13, 2010

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
David Binney Quartet
L'Astral
Montréal, Canada
May 13, 2010

For one night, saxophonist David Binney brought a little taste of the 55 Bar to Montréal's L'Astral, courtesy of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. Mind you, as much as the well-known New York club acts as a regular performance space for Binney, and a laboratory for new music and new collaborations, it's hard to imagine it matching L'Astral, a venue opened during the 2009 FIJM in its new Maison du Festival, the home it's needed for many years. Seating about 350 people and with open sight lines everywhere, its generous stage and outstanding sound has already made it a highly respected venue—a reputation that's matched by the festival's remarkable commitment to making it a year-round jazz club with its Jazz All Year Round series, presenting an average of 15 shows each month since inception.

For his May 13, 2010 performance, Binney brought a couple of younger yet now relatively longtime collaborators. Pianist Jacob Sacks and drummer Dan Weiss have been playing together for fifteen years, since meeting in New York when Sacks relocated there from Michigan at the age of eighteen. The two also play together in Weiss' trio, heard most recently on the not-surprisingly cross-cultural and interpretively deep Timshel (Sunnyside, 2010), and one of the Montréal show's most compelling aspects was being able to truly feel both the profound, joined-at-the-hip musical connection between the two of them (and the entire quartet for that matter), not to mention the fun they were clearly having.


Binney also recruited bassist Zack Lober, a Montréal expat who has been living in New York for five years and is part of a collaborative quintet called The Story, which released its self-titled debut independently in 2009. Lober has been a fixture on the Montréal scene, performing with artists including pianist John Roney and the Doxas brothers (saxophonist Chet and drummer Jim), and while he may be a relatively recent collaborator with Binney and his other band mates, he was as deeply into the music as any of them, no small challenge given the inherent complexity of some of Binney's writing.



While Binney's credentials as a player have never been in question, not since he emerged in the mid-1990s in Lost Tribe—a prescient group that also kick-started the careers of guitarists Adam Rogers and David Gilmore—his albums, and his reputation, have focused more on his distinctive approach to writing. He may not be known to the larger jazz fan base as well as he should, but amongst many musicians he's become an influential touchstone, with an unmistakable ability to create challenging yet accessible environments for improvisation that are memorable for their serpentine melodies, open-ended yet structurally clear constructs and harmonically distinctive contexts. In performance, however, there's a more equitable balance between Binney the writer and Binney the improviser.



With only three songs in each hour-long set—announced at the start of the set, almost as if, while clearly aware of the audience, the intent was to get that out of the way so the band could just focus, and play—there was no shortage of solo space for everyone, and what became immediately evident the moment the band launched into the first tune (an untitled original), was that this was a group comfortable in its own skin, with an engendered trust that allowed it to go wherever it wanted without fear. This music was all about risk, but was all the more engaging for the clear confidence each player had that, no matter what they did, no matter where they went, the rest would be there to either push them farther or, very occasionally, rope them back in.

From left: Jacob Sacks, David Binney, Zack Lober, Dan Weiss



The six pieces, opening original aside and another unrecorded tune called "Simple Vibe," were culled from recent albums, including the quirky, shifting bar lines of "PF" and fierier "Gesturecalm," from Bastion of Sanity (Criss Cross, 2005), an extended look at the darkly balladic "Here's All the Love I Have," from The Third Occasion (Mythology, 2009), that went to more jagged and powerful places than the original, and the more immediate yet still left-of-center funk of the title track to Aliso (Criss Cross, 2010).


Related Video

Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
  • Opus by AAJ Italy Staff
Read more articles

More Articles

Read SFJAZZ Collective at the Music Box Supper Club Live Reviews SFJAZZ Collective at the Music Box Supper Club
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Anat Cohen at Davidson College Live Reviews Anat Cohen at Davidson College
by Perry Tannenbaum
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Mark Hagan's Jazz Salon At The Old 76 House Live Reviews Mark Hagan's Jazz Salon At The Old 76 House
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Kneebody at Johnny Brenda's Live Reviews Kneebody at Johnny Brenda's
by Mike Jacobs
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Vossajazz 2017 Live Reviews Vossajazz 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Hermeto Pascoal at SFJAZZ Live Reviews Hermeto Pascoal at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "Thundercat at the Bluebird Theater" Live Reviews Thundercat at the Bluebird Theater
by Geoff Anderson
Published: March 3, 2017
Read "Peter Wolf & the Midnight Travelers at City Winery" Live Reviews Peter Wolf & the Midnight Travelers at City Winery
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "String Theory 2016" Live Reviews String Theory 2016
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 30, 2016
Read "George Benson at Denver Botanic Gardens" Live Reviews George Benson at Denver Botanic Gardens
by Geoff Anderson
Published: September 21, 2016
Read "Quinsin Nachoff's Flux at Constellation" Live Reviews Quinsin Nachoff's Flux at Constellation
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: November 22, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!