Dave Binney’s Aliso is a vigorous piece of work where the production values of sparkling sound and astute track sequencing are wholly in line with the stellar musicianship.
The saxophonist-composer’s patience sets the proper tone for detailed exploration of original tunes intermixed with covers from admirable sources. On "A Day in Music," Binney demonstrates how to maintain warmth in the sound of his saxophone even as he takes melodic turns at sharp angles. He refuses to let himself (or his accompanists) become predictable, which no doubt accounts for the ample playing time afforded each individual. On the title song, for example, guitarist Wayne Krantz injects just the right amount of dissonance to contrast the carefully staged theme.
Pianist Jacob Sacks owns this rendition of Wayne Shorter’s "Toy Tune." Not only do such brave covers nestle comfortably next to the leader’s own material (Thelonius Monk’s "Think of One" is here too), the ensemble betrays no apprehension in tackling such challenging compositions. The performance of John Coltrane’s "Africa," (where Krantz again is conspicuous and positively so) extends almost fourteen minutes: Binney and his sextet obviously retains a much confidence as reverence in their approach to tunes by such genre icons.
As detailed in the copious liner notes, Dave Binney has formulated a reputable career in contemporary jazz through his work as accompanist as well as a leader, exhibiting an adventuresome spirit on a wide array of projects. His peripatetic nature would appear to inspire him as Aliso may be his crowning achievement–at least so far.