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David Binney: Welcome to Life

When it came time to pick the cover art for David Binney’s Welcome to Life, one hopes the saxophonist was on vacation or locked in a closet. The garish collage on the front of this may be the ugliest cover art for a jazz release all year. The music, however, is familiar Binney all around.

Binney is a bit of a populist. For his bustling postbop, he prefers romantic gestures and broad-chested themes. He works with a compact, layered sound, places sharp arrangements around his melodies and builds excitement, much as a film composer might, through repetition, rising volume and a slow thickening of the group sound. On Welcome to Life, he returns a familiar setup: two horns, guitar, piano, bass and drums, which he exploits for a wide textural range. Binney has no trouble attracting top talent: pianist Craig Taborn brings a touch of M-Base funkiness, Chris Potter turns up again as Binney’s saxophone foil, and guitarist Adam Rogers, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Brian Blade complete the band.

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