Dave Binney’s new album, Aliso, is a finely tuned blowing session that pairs excellent musicianship – and composition – with relaxed reading. Rehearsals optional. The sound is solid on both the standards and originals. You’d never know the group hadn’t rehearsed once before the session. I had the pleasure of discussing Aliso with Binney, who’ll be at l’Astrale on May 13. We talked about lead voices, digital culture and how much he loves Montreal.
A blend of straight-ahead standards and original comps, Aliso showcases Dave Binney’s musicianship and his ability to choose the right partners to play with. This is his most recent record and he covers a lot of ground. Rather than two horns playing with each other as on South, Welcome to Life, Balance, Bastion of Sanity and other albums, Binney brings Wayne Krantz’s guitar forward as the second lead voice. It’s a robust sound that covers Shorter, Coltrane, Monk and Sam Rivers with grace and playfulness.
For that reason, I was surprised to hear that even the original songs weren’t rehearsed before the group got into the studio. “We had had the date and then I realized we were all, including myself, out of town with various projects until the day before,” Binney said. “I realized, we’re not going to get any rehearsal, and I did have four originals. I was going to cancel, but a couple of guys on the record said no let’s just do it on the day. So I actually ended up going in there without any rehearsal, brought these tunes in, which I had not ever played, and then just randomly picked some other standard tunes that I like, and that I had also never played. We just did the record like that.”
If that’s your recording session, you pretty much have to get the best musicians around to show up and Binney has a long history of doing just that. Aliso features original songs from Binney that mesh perfectly with Wayne Shorter’s Teru and Toy Tune, Thelonious Monk’s Think of One, and John Coltrane’s Africa. Sam River’s Fusion Night Swing, based on the harmony of Night and Day, is worth putting on heavy repeat.
“And the musicians,” he said. “I mean, it was a given for me that things would happen because they’re all so good and I enjoy playing with them. First and foremost I pick musicians I really like to play with and the music kind of just happens.”
This year, Dave Binney returns to Montreal with local bassist, Zak Lober, pianist Jacob Saks, and drummer Dan Weiss. No doubt the quartet will push Binney’s signature sound in the best possible way. You can find his new album and gig downloads for sale on his site. I’ll be at his show at l’Astrale on May 13th. See you there.
Dave Binney at L’Astrale, May 13, 305 Ste. Catherine Street W. Telephone: 514 288-8882.