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Binker and Moses Journey to the Mountain of Forever

Binker and Moses are just one act among many currently reshaping the landscape of UK jazz.

Released: 6 February 2017
Journey to the Mountain of Forever

The UK jazz scene is exploding. And yet already words fail us, because what this new generation of musicians are creating cannot be reduced to one word. Educated in jazz, these young pioneers are breeding a new musical animal – a restless hybrid of hip-hop, grime, funk and soul, inspired by club sounds but anchored to jazz at its core.

A central component of this evolving web of creativity is drummer and producer Moses Boyd. Boyd has quickly become a name to remember, performing and producing as a solo artist, with his band Moses Boyd Exodus, and with tenor saxophonist Binker Golding as one half of Binker and Moses.

Their second album, Journey to the Mountain of Forever, is, like its title implies, slightly laborious. But at nearly an hour and half long, recorded live, semi-improvised, and with no effects or overdubs, it’s one of the most exciting records of the year. It’s packed with ambition and intrigue, owing much of its character to the looser styles of free jazz that developed in the sixties.

The first half sees its creators play unassisted, Golding’s freewheeling sax lines slotting into Boyd’s raw and powerful fills with natural, unscripted energy. Infectious sax motifs drive much of this half – swaggering and bolshy on ‘Intoxication From The Jahvmonishi Leaves’, casual and airy on ‘Fete By The River’. At first, the minimal setup sounds bare and unfinished, but repeated listens peel away any misgivings, exposing the irresistible, naked vigour of this sincerely talented duo.

For the second half, the duo flesh out the skeleton with an array of innovative musicians. Opener ‘The Valley Of The Ultra Blacks’ dives head first into a three-way percussion jam between Boyd, Yussef Dayes and tabla player Sarathy Korwar, before the shrieking, dynamic saxophone of free jazz pioneer Evan Parker chimes through. Harpist Tori Handsley leads on serene reverie ‘Gifts From The Vibrations Of Light’, channelling the spiritual leanings of Alice Coltrane, later finding a beautiful interplay with Korwar’s tabla on album closer ‘At The Feet Of The Mountain Of Forever’. Journey demands attention and perseverance, but you should listen closely. Binker and Moses are just one act among many currently reshaping the landscape of UK jazz.

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