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Listener introduces the music of Italy's Binary Core to The New Cool

Italian duo Binary Core offer their latest album Playlistening
Alba Scherma
Binary Core Bandcamp
Italian duo Binary Core offer their latest album Playlistening

KNKX works hard to find the best jazz and blues to play for our listeners. Sometimes though, the tables turn, and a listener introduces new music to the station. Joe Fina from Monroe, Wash. connected with New Cool host Abe Beeson to recommend a modern jazz group he discovered in Italy called Binary Core.

The new Binary Core album Playlistening opens with a funky soul song called "Keep Out" featuring vocals with thick vocoder effects. It's not a match for the modern jazz on The New Cool. However, first impressions are misleading.

"A Message from Lyle" leads with post-bop acoustic piano. Drums and electric bass follow with added synthesizers creating a modern setting with a hint of 80s jazz fusion nostalgia. Binary Core's jazz knowledge comes through loud and clear through expert solos on bass and piano.

Further listening through Playlistening shows a band exploring multiple musical influences. "Weekend in Manhattan" is positively swinging piano trio fun. The skittering beats of "Gentle Thought" put a relaxed morning vibe to pulsing electronica. Progressive Afro-beats power the guest horns on "Cheetah", and the catchy melody and soloing on "Coral" bring many of these influences together.

Properly impressed, the New Cool asked Joe to tell us about his discovery of this intriguing Italian crew:

"A few weeks ago, while scrolling through my Facebook feed, I noticed that several friends and family in Italy had posted a link to a new jazz album, Playlistening. The group, Binary Core, is comprised of young, accomplished jazz instrumentalists who are all graduates of the intenseConservatorio di Palermo. I was really blown away by their musicianship. Bass player Salvo Volpe, who’s also one of the two composer-arrangers, is actually a distant cousin of mine.

Two things initially caught my ear upon my very first listen: the diversity of the musical styles represented on the album and the great back-and-forth between piano and bass - like a musical conversation challenging each instrument to another level of awesome.

In this regard, standouts for me include “A Message from Lyle” and “Weekend in Manhattan.” The tracks that feature a horn section - like “Coral” and “Cheetah” - beautifully balance the diversity of timbres and are really fun pieces. Overall, each track sets a very specific mood, from moody to hip to relaxing to playful. I found myself constantly bobbing my head! I hope my fellow KNKX Jazz listeners enjoy the album as much as I have."

Thanks to Joe for introducing us to Binary Core. KNKX is grateful to so many of our listeners for helping connect us and their fellow listeners to great jazz and blues from around the world. Keep it coming!

The New Cool airs Fridays at 9 p.m., hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Washington. LISTEN ON DEMAND

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Abe grew up in Western Washington, a third generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.