Eric Binder Trio
Eric Binder is a drummer and educator and here he leads a classic chordless trio (saxophone, acoustic bass, drums) that features busy saxophonist Walter Smith III (both a bandleader in his own right and still a sideman to many) and bassist Petros Klampanis (also a bandleader when out on his own and an educator and regular session guy). Shit, it’s just a classy band and this is no-nonsense, stick-to-the-knitting, nail-it-right jazz.
It’s not as hard as the hard bop you know and love – but it’s clean and clear and there’s nothing challenging about it, just expert-level playing from three classy, passionate jazz-heads. The trim running time (six songs, 26 minutes) would be an EP in any other genre but in jazz – particularly a chordless bop trio format – its just another throwback to a past era of perfection. Trim the fat, serve the correct and filling portion.
Opening ballad Trane Ride has Smith paying tribute to Coltrane with big, smooth billowing clouds that aren’t so much the fabled ‘sheets of sound’ but soft pillows.
Blues Jawn is more Sonny Rollins, as Smith’s horn is nosing around corners while the rhythm section is head down and driving.
These are all Binder compositions but you can hear the reference points – Blakey (BFTF), Wayne Shorter (Luna) – all classic stuff. And just so expertly handled. A first-time listener to Binder and his bandmates could be put off by what they think is overly clinical but this is a lithe musical muscle and these are players that care and have exploring the past in colourful new ways across several shared and distinct projects. So give this one a go if jazz is your thing. It’s very, very good.
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