David Binney – Third Occasion – Mythology MR 0006, 61:50 ****:

(David Binney, alto sax; Craig Taborn, piano; Scott Colley, bass; Brian Blade, drums – with brass section: Ambrose Akinmusire, trumpet; Brad Mason, trumpet, flugelhorn; Corey King, trombone; Andy Hunter, trombone)

David Binney is a restless musician. Long recognized as a mainstay in progressive jazz, Binney is not afraid to tackle new projects. His background is as varied as one could find. Early in his career, he was tutored by sax legends, Phil Woods, George Coleman, and David Liebman. He has worked as a sideman for Aretha Franklin and Maceo Parker, as well as playing in the big bands of Maria Schneider and Gil Evans.

He formed his own label, Mythology, in 1998. His new CD bridges avant and experimental passages with melodic and approachable jazz. Binney has expanded his all star rhythm section to include writing for a brass section of two trumpets and two trombones.

Introducao opens the CD with a classically brass intro before Binney steps in with an airy chorus. Pianist Taborn has a reflective contribution and Brian Blade’s palette is as varied as ever. He, like Matt Wilson, can fit in any jazz idiom. Binney takes the composition into the outer ranges, but remains accessible.

The title track again moves from melodic territory with Taborn taking lead into a free wheeling Binney extended solo. This Naked Sunday is quite reflective and Binney’s compositional skills are on display when the brass section adds to the neo-classical mood.  Squares and Palaces show the sympathetic interplay with Binney’s quartet, as these veterans read each other’s mood well.

Solo provides a brief opportunity for Binney to show his prowess on the alto. The ballad, Here is All the Love I Have, is my favorite track on Third Occasion. Colley’s bass solo is gorgeous and Blade provides sensitive accompaniment. Binney’s work here is melodic yet searching and profound, as the pace quickens and the brass expands into the mix. Explaining What’s Hidden is also a nice mix of melody with expansions by Binney into a more passionate avant territory.

Blood of Cities
shows Binney’s introspective side and again Taborn’s gentle piano voicings are exquisite. The brass section makes an appearance again near the end of the track and bring a fullness that expands the mood. The closing track, End, is a nice bookend to Introducao, a one minute brass chorale to wrap up the mood that Binney has so aptly set for Third Occasion.

Introducao, Third Occasion, This Naked Sunday, Squares and Palaces, Solo, Here is All the Love I Have, Explaining What’s Hidden, Blood of Cities, End

– Jeff Krow