By Bryan McAllister
Teaming up with some of the jazz world’s finest musicians, David Binney has recorded another fantastic album. “Graylen Epicenter,” features Chris Potter, Ambrose Akinmusire, Gretchen Parlato, Wayne Krantz, Craig Taborn, Eivind Opsvik, Brian Blade, Dan Weiss, Kenny Wollesen, and Rogerio Boccato and it is clear that this group was chosen for a reason.
The blend in the horns is beautiful, often with Gretchen Parlato doubling horn lines or adding another layer of harmony. What I really like about the pace to this album is the horn arrangements. In so many albums, the horn arrangements are too similar and remain unchanged from start to finish. Dave Binney is well-known as a talented producer, and it is more obvious than ever on this album.
Wayne Krantz’ solo on the title track is one of my favorites on the album. Lyrical and thoughtful, the dense tune suddenly opens up at the start of the solo and moves forward from there. Track eight, “Home,” features Gretchen Parlato singing a tune that Binney has recorded twice previous, but this breathy, heart-wrenching vocal version is absolutely my favorite.
This album is a fantastic marriage of cerebral contemporary jazz with raw emotion and beauty. I have never been a die-hard fan of David Binney’s music, but this album may have changed my mind.
David Binney (Alto, Soprano Saxophones,Vocal);
Gretchen Parlato (Vocal);
Wayne Krantz (guitars);
Ambrose Akinmusire (Trumpet);
Chris Potter (Tenor Saxophone);
Craig Taborn (Piano);
Eivind Opsvik (Bass);
Brian Blade (Drums tracks 1,2,3,4,6,8,9,10);
Dan Weiss (Drums tracks 1,5,6,9,10);
Kenny Wollesen (Percussion,Vibes);