256

David Binney: Graylen Epicenter

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
David Binney: Graylen Epicenter 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 a variety of creative interpretations from his sidemen. The melodious, open-ended title track features a probing electric guitar solo from Wayne Krantz, whose spiky acoustic picking on the bracing coda of the otherwise tranquil "From This Far" reveals his vast dynamic range. Tenor saxophonist Chris Potter engages in a series of heated exchanges with the leader's acerbic alto on the careening post-bop of "Terrorists and Movie Stars," while rising trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire's adroit facility is highlighted on "Waking To Waves." Providing stalwart support and a modicum of expressive interjections, bassist Eivind Opsvik and pianist Craig Taborn convey the same eloquently articulated intensity they have on many of Binney's previous records.

Revisiting the polyrhythmic cross-cultural fusions of his collaborations with Venezuelan-born pianist Edward Simon, the percussion heavy line-up features a rotating roster of all-star talent. Percussionists Kenny Wollesen and Rogerio Boccato accompany either Brian Blade or Dan Weiss on trap set, with a third of the album featuring Blade and Weiss playing drums simultaneously. "All of Time," demonstrates the rousing fervor such meetings can generate, as Blade and Weiss enthusiastically solo over the tune's martial ostinato, prefacing Taborn's locomotive filigrees and Binney's cathartic declarations.

Brimming with controlled fervor, Binney's solo statements are models of architectural logic. Whether trading pithy rejoinders with Taborn on the funky abstraction "Equality At Low Levels" or negotiating a labyrinthine gauntlet of polyrhythmic percussion with a series of pointed motifs on "Any Years Costume," Binney's judicious combination of unfettered zeal and knowing restraint perfectly complements his multifaceted writing. Gretchen Parlato frequently shadows Binney's circuitous melodies with virtuosic vocalese; her euphonious tone and dulcet phrasing adds a sublime emotional undercurrent to the leader's sonorous themes. Doubling his lines on tracks like the lyrical "Everglow" and the airy miniature "Same Stare, Different Thought," she wordlessly conveys the same soulful quality as the heartfelt lyrics she contributes to "Home."

Bolstered by the committed performances of his veteran accomplices, Graylen Epicenter is one of Binney's most poignant and affecting releases, ranking alongside the equally assiduous efforts of such celebrated peers as Joel Harrison, Donny McCaslin and Chris Potter.


Track Listing: All of Time; Graylen Epicenter; Equality At Low Levels; Everglow; From This Far; Terrorists and Movie Stars; Same Stare, Different Thought; Home; Any Years Costume; Waking To Waves.

Personnel: David Binney: alto and soprano saxophone, vocal; Gretchen Parlato: vocal; Ambrose Akinmusire: trumpet; Chris Potter: tenor saxophone; Wayne Krantz: guitar; Craig Taborn: piano; Eivind Opsvik: bass; Brian Blade: drums (1-4, 6, 8-10); Dan Weiss: drums (1, 5, 6, 9, 10); Kenny Wollesen: percussion, vibes; Rogerio Boccato: percussion; Nina Geiger: vocal harmony (10).

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Mythology Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Chris Potter Chris Potter
reeds
Dave Douglas Dave Douglas
trumpet
Enrico Rava Enrico Rava
trumpet
Brian Blade Brian Blade
drums
Joshua Redman Joshua Redman
saxophone
Dave Liebman Dave Liebman
saxophone
Branford Marsalis Branford Marsalis
saxophone
Mark Turner Mark Turner
sax, tenor
Donny McCaslin Donny McCaslin
saxophone

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Backlog" CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Joy Comes Back" CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "The Hive" CD/LP/Track Review The Hive
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 14, 2016
Read "Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series Vol. 5" CD/LP/Track Review Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series Vol. 5
by Doug Collette
Published: October 19, 2016
Read "Lovers" CD/LP/Track Review Lovers
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "Of The Musical" CD/LP/Track Review Of The Musical
by Paul Naser
Published: December 29, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!

Buy it!