Culture Watch: David Binney's 'Graylen Epicenter' CD
A daring saxophonist who was raised in L.A. before moving on to New York, David Binney enlists a who's-who of that city's eclectic jazz scene for this album, including longtime collaborator and fellow saxophonist Chris Potter, guitarist Wayne Krantz, keyboardist Craig Taborn and rising young trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire.
And while the record has the free-wheeling vibe of an all-star jam session, it never feels overcrowded with Binney at the controls. His fiery, free-wheeling solo on "Any Years Costume" spirals around an unreal orchestra of percussion from the duo of Brian Blade and Dan Weiss, and lilting vocals by Gretchen Parlato form an airy counterpoint to Binney's horn before an acrobatic acoustic turn by Krantz flips the song on its head. With more than 70 minutes of music, the album's highlights come from so many directions they're almost overwhelming -- in a very good way.
-- Chris Barton