Saxophonist David Binney’s music can be challenging and rambunctious, and his tunes often combine feverish solos played against breathtaking textures whipped up by his rhythm team. His original compositions never stay still for long, yet Anacapa is a departure that’s often reflective and beautiful. There’s an emotive thread that Binney weaves throughout, giving the album a cohesive, inviting flow and his highly collaborative band knuckles down to give each of the leader’s tune a pleasing shine. It keeps the album continuously fresh, even on multiple spins, which helps make Anacapa Binney’s most rewarding effort in his substantial discography.
Mixing virtuosic playing (the ace rhythm team is pianist John Escreet, bassist Matt Brewer and two drummers, Dan Weiss and Obed Calvaire), multi-tracked vocals, zippy electronics and synthesized sounds, the record is grounded by earthy tracks that build on sturdy melodies (“The Golden Zone”), powerful grooves (“Massive Humanity”) and the lovely title tune that’s tagged with a wonderful, wiry solo by guitarist Wayne Krantz. The funky, soul-jazz tune “Imagination Sets Us Free” bounces along on a hot bass and beats vamp that’s bifurcated by Escreet’s high-stepping solo and free jazz improv by guitarist Rogers.
At 53, Binney is the quintessential NY musician who can fill a late night jazz bar on a moment’s notice with fans who feed hungrily off his energetic, high-flying solos and crackerjack interplay, and that abundant creativity is fully present on the impressive Anacapa. (10 tracks; 71 minutes)