Cities of Desire is the second release on Criss Cross Records for alto saxophonist-composer David Binney. In addition to composing the music for this recording and performing on it, he also produced the CD. Binney composed the music for this recording in 2005 while traveling to several foreign cities on tour, as well as making repeated trips between New York to and Los Angeles to help his ailing mother. Binney’s composing style has been billed as “alternative” but I tend to regard it as a minimalist type of expression. There is certainly enough to be intriguing to the listener, but not so much that it seems crowded. Binney’s saxophone playing is wonderful: he has warm tone, mature phrasing and the ability to switch gears when his music calls for it. The other fine players on this disc are a tight sounding group and present a unified sound that compliments the music.
There is a real sense of introspective thought in Binney’s music. I especially liked “Montreal” and “New York,” because they both brought a real sense of adventure and life to the music. Craig Taborn’s piano solos on “New York” were engaging and expertly played. I’m not sure about the “Intro” selections – they didn’t make musical sense to me when combined with the next track – but perhaps you had to be there. In any case, Binney is a player and composer that I have added to my “watch” list. I’ll be very interested to see where he goes from here and more than willing to come along for the ride.
Tracklist: Lisbon, London, Intro To Toronto, Toronto, Los Angeles, Intro To Carpinteria, Carpinteria, Intro To Rome, Rome, Montreal, Intro To Miami , Miami, New York City
– Ann Stahmer