David_binney-free_to_dream_span3
April 1999

David Binney
Free To Dream
Mythology Records

Alto saxophonist David Binney has developed a number of outlets for his prolific outpouring as a composer. The electric band Lost Tribe appeals to his edgier avant-funk-fusion nature while the acoustic Lan Xang is a vehicle for some very potent acoustic jazz with an accent on group improvisation and provocative horn voicings. This project under his own name is in some ways Binney's most accomplished and satisfying vehicle. It's basically the Lan Xang quartet (Binney, drummer Jeff Hirshfield, bassist Scott Colley, tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin) augmented by Lost Tribe bandmate Adam Rogers on classical guitar, Edward Simon on piano, Kenny Wolleson and Daniel Sadownick on percussion, Alex Sipiagan on trumpet, Doug Yates on bass clarinet, Clark Gayton on trombone, and Jamie Baum on flutes. This accomplished crew helps the composer realize some of his richest, most adventurous music yet.

A sublime melodicist, Binney's romantic side comes out on lyrical pieces like "Jalama" and the title track, both underscored by Rogers' gentle acoustic guitar. The moody "Voice of Reason" and the exhilarating opener "Goddess" are lush nonet offerings while starker numbers like the precious "I Lie Waiting." and the darkly fragile "Girl of the Southern Sky" highlight Simon's gentle, searching quality at the keyboard. Binney's own fluid, keening alto style figures prominently on the burning "Oddman," which opens with an exhilarating sax-drums duet with Hirshfield before moving into a bit of Steve Colemanesque angular funk, and on "The Mondello Line," which opens on a dramatic note with an extended solo sax intro by the composer that segues to a fugue-like piece. The minimalist meditation "Where the Rain Shines" and the closing free floating soundscape "Sea of Allurement" add to the allure of this very evocative disc.

Originally published in April 1999
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