Binker Golding is part of a crucial generation of UK jazz musicians who have made their mark internationally. A saxophonist and composer, his work as a soloist, band leader, and collaborator has helped shatter the glass ceiling, resulting in a fantastic catalogue of improvisatory jewels.
Yet Binker also has a shadow side to him. He’s long been a fan of other aspects of American artistry, ranging from blues and Americana through to Heartland Rock, songwriting hewn from ordinary lives and transplanted to big, open spaces.
New album ‘Dream Like A Dogwood Wild Boy’ is out now, and it finds Binker Golding embracing these influences, while still working within a recognisably ‘jazz’ sphere. After all, where do the boundaries lie, anyway? Jazz is a fusion music, and this new project adopts tropes you might not anticipate.
Chatting to Clash, Binker picked out five touchstones from the project.
Mississippi Fred McDowell – London Calling
One of the best compilations of live recordings by the great master of country blues.
A solitary man with just his guitar, showing the world how soulful he could be. His style of playing (along with Pops Staples also) influenced my compositional approach for the track ‘Love Me Like A Woman’.
Chris Stapleton – Traveller
A contemporary country album by one of my favourite artists currently working in the genre. ‘Traveller’ is a very consistent, very listenable album. It establishes a mood and keeps the listener there.
The standout track is ‘Tennessee Whiskey’. Chris goes above & beyond expectation as a singer on this song.
Desert Noises – Mountain Sea
The thing I love about Desert Noises is the overall sound they get from the band.
The track ‘Oak tree’ from this album influenced my song ‘My Two Dads’. It was mainly the sound texture I wanted to reference. The song ‘Dime In My Pocket’ by Desert Noises would be another recommendation. Incredible players.
Bonnie Raitt – Longing In Their Hearts
As one of my favourite artists ever, it’s hard for me to pick just one album by her.
Saying that, ‘Longing In Their Hearts’ is embedded in my mind as the archetypal Raitt sound, as my mother played it over & over when I was a kid. Standout tracks would be ‘Dimming Of The Day’, ‘You’ & the title track which contains a favourite lyric of mine: “He talks to his friends / He talks to himself / He talks a chicken right off the bone…”
Bruce Springsteen – The River
I couldn’t complete this without mentioning him. Of all the Springsteen albums, ‘The River’ probably influenced ‘Dream Like A Dogwood Wild Boy’ the most. The influence, like with any of the albums above, isn’t overt, but I wouldn’t have made this record had I never heard music like this.
I suppose the most Springsteenesque song on ‘Dogwood’ is ‘All Out Of Fairy Tales’. Songs like ‘Drive All Night’ and ‘Independence Day’ from ‘The River’ informed my writing on this song and others.