Binker Golding, John Edwards, Steve Noble – Moon Day
(Byrd Out Records BYR 303. Album review by Tony Dudley-Evans.)
Saxophonist Binker Golding became known on the jazz scene through his Binker & Moses collaboration with drummer Moses Boyd which was deservedly feted as one of the best groups of the new London wave. He has always had an interest in free improvisation and the duo invited Evan Parker to guest on their Alive In The East? album. Increasingly, the saxophonist is focussing on free playing, often joining two giants of the improvised music scene, bass player John Edwards and drummer Steve Noble. He played a storming set with Noble and Olie Brice on the London Jazz Festival streamed programme in November 2020, and has joined up with Edwards and Noble to produce this album, Moon Day. The inspiration for the album comes from the moon landings and the 1835 Great Moon Hoax.
It is not always easy to make the transition from playing modern mainstream jazz to engaging with free improvisation. It might seem easy to transfer skills from the one style to the other, but one can think of players who have struggled, at least initially, with the greater freedom. That said, Golding definitely comes across as at ease in this free context and in the company of two of the finest improvisers in Europe; indeed he comes across as an exciting and original improviser.
One Giant Step, a 24-minute track, has a huge variety with the mood changing from one phase to the next. It begins with Golding on his own playing a gentle series of low notes; this continues until Edwards comes with a great booming note. This sets up a nice interaction between the two before Noble comes in on the drums. The track moves between interactive passages where each reacts to the others with short punchy phrases, and full on passages where all three are going for it, and generating a strong groove. Golding is fluent and inventive throughout, switching between tenor and soprano saxophones with a cutting tone on both. His influences seem to be from Coltrane and Evan Parker; he does not use extended techniques.
Reflection is a much shorter track, but has an even greater intensity with bass and drums really driving Golding on. Similarly with Lunar Wind, a longer track again, there is an intensity that derives from Golding’s use of the high register of the soprano sax, and the integration of a dissonance that works well in the context.
The vinyl issue has these three tracks, while the digital version (available from Bandcamp, link below), adds three extra tracks, two quite short edits of two of the long tracks, plus one long track, For S.K., that goes through a series of phases with Golding on tenor sax this time interacting with the others with great drama.
Moon Day is released on 9 April 2021
Categories: Album review