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David Binney’s ‘Barefooted Town’

Saxophonist assembles all-star, younger cast for new album

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David Binney’s ambitious release on his own label earlier this year, Graylen Epicenter, drew even more praise than usual from critics and fellow musicians. And this new one from Criss Cross is another winner for the much admired but largely unsung alto saxophonist and composer.

The top-flight, mostly younger players Binney has assembled for Barefooted Town-Ambrose Akinmusire on trumpet, Mark Turner on tenor saxophone, David Virelles on piano, Eivind Opsvik on bass and Dan Weiss on drums-seem happy to keep the emphasis on Binney’s complex compositions rather than their own soloing prowess. There is impressive blowing throughout the disc, especially on the high-energy opening pieces “Dignity” and “Seven Sixty.” Akinmusire and the saxes cut loose on “Secret Miracle,” and Weiss maintains a protean brilliance throughout. But the focus stays remarkably centered on ensemble work and Binney’s music. Virelles takes a strong solo on “The Edge of the Seasons” and adds luster to the quieter, more balladic “A Night Every Day,” for example, but dutifully repeats a chord throughout the title cut for hypnotic effect. And Akinmusire has no problem allowing his trumpet to be employed simply for color elsewhere.

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