Out of Aiplanes
Review by Brad Walseth for JazzChicago.com
Amazingly enough, Alto saxman David Binney has done it again - releasing not only one
of the best releases of 2006, but like lightning striking twice - he has produced two!
"Cities and Desire" (see our review) was a tantalizing trip through the musical world of
Binney's mind - one that showcased the intricate structures of the composer's
songwriting and arranging. Now "Out of Airplanes" comes and takes a different, yet no
less exciting, direction. Recorded in Seattle with a different cast of musicians (including
guitar innovator Bill Frisell) - "Out of Airplanes" moves into free form improvisation with
utterly delicious results.
"Brainstorms Pt. 1" opens the CD with Binney and Frisell bending time and space over
the skittering drums of Kenny Wollesen, Craig Taborn's atmospheric electronics and
Eivind Opsvik's active bass. "Contributors" follows and Taborn's time-shifting piano
provides the basis on which the "contributors" add their textures through
contrapuntal/melodic tentacles of sound. Frisell and Binney seem to share an almost
telepathic link - as their tones nearly merge into one another and it becomes difficult to
determine where the saxophone ends and the guitar begins. This is music for a new era
- mind-bending and effervescent.
Opsvik's quiet - almost hymn-like "Jan Mayen" follows and this highlight allows
Binney the opportunity to soar over the chimes and majestic tapestries created by his
bandmates on this sublimely beautiful ballad. The title track again features Taborn's
staggered arpeggios as providing the initial groundwork - with Opsvik's glockenspiel
providing an intriguing element, and Adam Rogers' additional guitar jet streams - as the
music takes flight - adding to the intensity. But don't get me wrong - although much of
this music is indeed improvised, Binney's always superb sense of melody is very much
intact - and his collaborators are completely in tune with him in this regard. This has
resulted in challenging, yet highly rewarding listening.
"The Forgotten Gems" is a brief walk through a gothic cathedral, before "Wild Child"
returns us to the piano-driven, time-changing mode that Binney favors. Some of the
composer's work (such as this one) hints at the best work of the late Frank Zappa in the
delightfully unexpected time changes and surprising melodic content. "Home" finds
Binney's sense of restlessness and longing shining through his incessant melodic
repetition - while Frisell gives full cry in lustrous soloing - this is music of uncommon
depth and beauty.
The CD continues with "Brainstorms Pt. 2" - somewhat reminiscent of King Crimson's
forays into industrial sounds, then segues into the hauntingly surreal "Bring Your
Dream" - an eerie improvised piece that feels like an uneasy journey through a dark
forest at night. "Instant Distance" ends the album powerfully with Wollesen riffing
ferociously underneath the mysterious rising and falling melodies. Binney's mother
Dolores passed away during the making of this project and this was the last of his music
she heard. I can think of no greater form of love than to have provided this lovely tonal
soundtrack to the passing of a spirit into the next journey.