The prizewinning sax-and-drum duo’s spartan aesthetic was fully in place when they won the 2015 Mobo Best Jazz Act Award, shortly after releasing their first album, Dem Ones. Since then, two highly praised albums have further underscored their frontrunner status in UK jazz.
This release, recorded at London’s Total Refreshment Centre, captures the 2017 launch of Binker and Moses’s second album, the two-CD Journey to the Mountain of Forever. Intense, vibrant and impressively controlled, the recording reproduces the pleasures of an “I-wish-I’d-been-there” kind of gig. First issued in December on limited-edition vinyl, it is now available as a digital-only release.
The performance is based on the running order of the first CD — the second CD added guests, and is not represented here. As on the recording, the set begins with a rumble of Moses Boyd’s bass drum followed by a mesh of mallets intertwining with pensive Binker Golding tenor sax. And as before, Golding adds phonics and his tone gains a hint of grit. But here the detail is newly etched, and the orchestrated slow burn is stretched to a gripping 17 minutes.
Golding and Boyd both compress a multitude of styles into a single organic whole, giving their project dynamics and range. Thus “Intoxication from the Jahvmonishi Leaves”, an ebullient mix of modern jazz and hard-hitting R&B, is followed by the ebb and flow of “Fete by the River”, a juxtaposition of gentle calypso and punchy soca beats; Golding references young Sonny Rollins, Boyd inserts whipcrack rimshots into press rolls that are as smooth as glass.
The second half of the album is equally varied. “Trees on Fire”, a full-octane blast that is never out of control, is followed by “The Shaman’s Chant”, which starts at a whisper and ends with a phonic roar 11 minutes later. The set finishes with Boyd on brushes, Golding’s tone softened and warm and the calming mood of “Leaving the Now Behind.”
‘Escape the Flames’ is released by Gearbox Records