Binker and Moses - Journey To The Mountain Of Forever

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:8 Release Date:2017-07-22

Right off, let's get some facts and things straightened out. Binker (Golding) and Moses (Boyd) are two young British jazz musicians, a duo (sax and drums) that plays jazz. Whoever is not inclined towards that music form might simply skip this whole story. Unless of course, they got caught, "like Kamasi Washington," by the tag given to the duo and their double album, Journey To the Mountain of Forever, and the striking album cover that may remind one of similar '70s creations for progressive rock albums.

Now, Kamasi Washington and that which carries the title of "spiritual" or "space" jazz, even though it has been around since the times of John Coltrane and Albert Tyler, has become quite popular these days. Along with Washington, the names also mentioned are of sax player J.D. Allen, drummer Jaimeo Brown and another sax wizard, James Brandon Lewis. So, I guess that is how Binker and Moses got grouped here, although it may also be due to the cover and titles like “Intoxication From The Jahvmonishi Leaves”.

Even if the Binker and Moses connection with spiritual and space jazz is there in both spirit and intention, the playing reflects many other forms of jazz. Saxophone player Binker Golding’s style owes a bit to Coltrane, but also to what could be considered more "standard" bop players like Charlie Parker and particularly Sonny Rollins. The harmolodics of Ornette Coleman crop up here and there, too. Moses Boyd owes a lot to classic jazz drumming style, but incorporates a lot from the funk oriented players that used to crop up in the Mile Davis groups starting with Bitches Brew onward.

Usually, space/spiritual jazz, along with the aforementioned Kamasi Washington, are associated with a more diverse orchestration, but as James Brandon Lewis Trio shows, it is possible to achieve the same astounding results with a minimal number of players. In that respect, Binker and Moses could be seen as a jazz alternative to The White Stripes or The Black Keys. But then what does Journey To the Mountain of Forever give us? Two sides of Binker and Moses.

The first album, subtitled The Realms of Now, is just Binker and Moses doing their live thing (it was recorded in two days live in the studio last year).  On it, the duo exemplifies their dazzling musicianship, and anybody who has seen them live on Later with Jools Holland will know what I’m talking about. Both players excel musically, but for quite a few listeners, this part of the album might pose a problem. Expressing improvised ideas might take time, and some listeners might find it hard to digest the whole of this part in one take, and frankly, it could have been a tad shorter.

On the other hand, the second part of the album, subtitled The Realms of the Infinite, with the participation of a number of other musicians including the renowned jazz improviser Evan Parker, is where the touching ground with spiritual/space jazz comes to life. Tracks like “Echoes from the Other Side of the Mountain” could become the bread and butter of any connoisseur’s spiritual jazz mixtape.

If, in the beginning, you might be overwhelmed by the fire this duo conjures on the first part of the album, bear with them. They're worth the trouble.

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