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Cities and Desire by David Binney

As technology increasingly makes gathering information faster and easier than ever, it also has allowed the many people of the world to connect and communicate as never before. Perhaps one day there will truly be a "one world" concept where meeting new people, learning different ideas, and freely traveling throughout the globe will be as common and natural as traveling and walking the streets of New York City. What better way to start this natural evolution than with music? David Binney is on the edge of this movement by traveling the world and assimilating the sights and sounds of the various places traveled and sharing them musically with the next listener.

David Binney’s second Criss Cross Records release entitled, Cites and Desire; is a suite of thirteen original compositions informed by the sounds and signals he has absorbed while traveling through such cities as; Lisbon, London, Toronto, Rome, Montreal, Miami, as well as his hometown to Los Angeles, and his present home in New York City. The resulting music is creative and modern, Binney says. "In my music, the rock feel might be even more prevalent than the swing feel, which is true of a lot of the music that the generation I came up with is creating."

Binney moved to New York City at the age of 19 where he was mentored by saxophonist Dave Liebman and played in the big bands of Gil Evans and Maria Schneider, as well as the smaller groups of Jim Hall, Bobby Previte and the Cecil McBee quintet. Binney was also a co-founder of the hard-edged quintet "Lost Tribe" and the open-form collective quartet "Lan Xang." With these groups and on his own, he has recorded a dozen albums as leader or co-leader.

Binney's alto saxophone sound is very warm and focused; his playing arsenal is full of long angular lines, expansive arpeggiations, and a strong rhythmic sense. Compositionally, Binney draws from various pan-American idioms, modern classical music, and pop. The music is laden with odd-metered rhythms that flow organically, rock beats, and rhythmic vamps that all support strong melodies. Binney states, "I think of the improvisations as the important thing here, and that’s how I conceived this record."

"Miami" is a tender ballad that is a fine example of Binney’s unobtrusive approach to composing. Binney says, "Something about it feels very relaxed to me. But this tune is also sad, with a longing sound, perhaps because my father was there before he passed away." There is a great feeling on this piece, which is heightened by the affective use of space and breath by all the players.

"New York City," as one would expect, is framed by a complex chord sequence and various odd time signatures. This is where Binney really is at home, navigating the terrain with a natural sense of style. Building upon a fine solo by pianist Craig Taborn, Binney develops a melodic motif through the chordal framework that builds to a flurried climax supported by the strong undercurrent of Thomas Morgan (bass) and Dan Weiss (drums).

If you like to underscore your world with the sounds of modern jazz, than David Binney’s new CD Cities and Desire will definitely be a great find. This collection of modern "musicscapes" from various cities around the world would be the perfect inspiration to go check out a new neighborhood in our ever evolving "one world" city.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: David Binney
  • CD Title: Cities and Desire
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Criss Cross
  • Tracks: Lisbon, London, Intro to Toronto, Toronto, Los Angeles, Intro Carpinteria, Carpinteria, Intro to Rome, Rome, Montreal, Intro to Miami, Miami, New York City
  • Musicians: David Binney (alto sax), Mark Turner (tenor sax), Craig Taborn (piano), Thomas Morgan (bass), Dan Weiss (drums)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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