David Binney

Tomorrow’s Journey
(Ghost Note Records)

All the elements alto saxophonist David Binney brings to Tomorrow’s Journey are in play on the long title track, which showcases Binney’s compositional daring and the prowess of his latest, Los Angeles-based band.

With its thick brass bottom, Binney’s “Journey” sounds huge but not intimidating. He keeps it on course, leading mini-movements that in their changeable textures and rhythms keep the tune absorbing.

“Second to None,” the opening tune, is shorter and more straightforward. It’s a jaunty adventure marked by peppery brass and declamatory Binney. The whole album is an absorbing sequence that ends with “Cali Culture,” a mutable work by Binney and the trumpet trailblazer Ambrose Akinmusire. Along the way, Binney delivers “Opal,” a showcase for bassists Logan Kane and Ethan Moffit; pianist Luis Mendoza’s cerebral, metrically tricky “Casa,” featuring a Mendoza solo of impressive velocity and purpose; and the ballad “Loved (for cousin Vince),” the heart of the album. Led by Binney at his most tender, the ruminative “Loved” never deviates from its austere, comforting path.

If “Loved” is the most direct track, “Resembler,” spurred by Binney’s lanky lines and the circling keyboards of Mendoza and Paul Cornish, may be its least predictable. It’s certainly a trip, vibrating with vitality and risk. If at first “Resembler” feels like a work-in-progress, the rhythmic repetition that propels it toward the end brings it together powerfully.

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