Dave Binney - Belfast
Not many musicians could assemble a pool of talent that includes Wayne Shorter's drummer, Jim Hall's bassist and New York's currently hippest pianist, but such is the regard in which the world's leading players hold saxophonist and composer Dave Binney.
He's no stranger to Irish audiences, who've grown to appreciate his remarkable gift for melody and small group orchestration, most recently in a jammed Whelan's in November 2005.
The clear incentive for artists of the calibre of Brian Blade, Craig Taborn and Scott Colley, each pillars of creativity in their own right, is Binney's brilliant and wholly original music. Here is a musician who embodies the dictum of 'jazz as the sound of surprise', with a unique compositional signature that romps freely across all manner of genres, from asymmetric funk and power chords to free improv and moody electronica.
Unburdened by jazz history, yet clearly steeped in it, Binney conjures up multifaceted music that succeeds on every level, poised between eclecticism and purity, access and intrigue, and always tempered by a genuine lyricism.