Saxophonist David Binney's latest release, Welcome to Life, features Chris Potter (tenor saxophone), Craig Taborn (piano), Adam Rogers (guitar), Scott Colley (bass) and Brian Blade (drums). The opening "Soldifolier" is a crisp, open piece where Blade deserves special accolades for his masterful display of unobtrusive styling. "Frez" features Binney, robust, clear, and lyrical. And the supporting cast aptly carries the melody, making the leader's sound all the more fluid and tight.
Meanwhile, "Our Time Together" shifts pace as a soulful ballad that demonstrates Binney is not only capable of swinging in the hard bop tradition, but he's equally comfortable reciting an ethereal musical poem. "California" continues the group's mellow vibe, with Binney, Taborn, and Colley providing the formidable foundation. Airy and fresh, "California" is draped in serenity, albeit with several rock-laced lines by Rogers.
The nine selections of Welcome to Life are glaringly different and interesting melodically. I do wish, however, that Binney had an opportunity to stretch out more. For example, he cooks mercilessly on "Frez," exhibiting a range of passion and musical tenacity that no other track matches. Otherwise, Welcome to Life is a harmonically consistent, fluid venture that demonstrates Binney's alto acumen, particularly his sensibility of surrounding himself with tremendous support.
1. Soldifolier, 2. Welcome to Life, 3. Lisliel, 4. Frez, 5. Our Time Together, 6. Sintra,
7. Enchantress, 8. Ici, 9. California
David Binney-alto, Chris Potter-tenor sax, Brian Blade-drums, Scott Colley-bass, Craig Taborn-piano, Adam Rogers-guitar