Binker Golding
Photo credit: Carl Hyde

Going for broke – Binker Golding remembers Abram WILSON

We’re super honoured that saxophonist and composer Binker Golding leads an exciting ensemble of talented jazz musicians for our 10th anniversary gig on Thursday 19 May.  We caught up with him, ahead of the event…

Q: Can you tell us your memories of Abram and his influence on you as a musician?

A: My overall, general memory of Abram is that he was almost always smiling. I met him when I was about 16 and he remained this way right up until I was 26 and he passed away. He was an extremely hard worker that would get hold of a vision and keep on hammering away at it until it was done. He worked harder and in a more thorough fashion from project to project. If you look back at his output you’ll notice that his work got stronger every time. His ideas became more fully realised and at the same time more refined.

I learnt a number of things from him. One was to not have a plan and to simply go for broke every time. It’s this attitude of his which rubbed off on me mainly. He was also the first person that showed me the importance of considering every minor detail of a performance or recording. Everything was important to him, from the notes played down to the laces on his shoes. I admired this greatly.

Q: What does playing this 10th anniversary gig at Church of Sound mean to you?

I see it as a celebration of the work of a musician I personally knew. The work of a musician lives on long after they do and so for me it feels quite natural to take part in this, especially since I actually knew him.

I see it as somewhat of a welcome duty. This is what we as musicians do. We keep the memory of our friends alive by playing their work. Nothing could seem more natural to me. It is not a solemn affair. It is part of the after-life of an artist.

Although, saying that, I can’t get away from the idea that he won’t be there. I can hear his voice in rehearsal.

Q: And what can we expect from the Church of Sound All-Stars on the 19th?

A: A well-informed rendition of the work of Abram Wilson. Most of the musicians in the ensemble worked with him intimately, so we have a very good understanding of his music and what direction it should be taken in. What its purpose was and the attitude in which it should be played.

Q: Having performed and released your music as a solo artist as well as playing alongside so many different musicians, is there anyone on your bucket list to collaborate with, and why?

A: That’s a popular question and it’s difficult to answer because it changes depending on what you’re working on. Right now, it would probably be Bonnie Raitt.

Q: As a composer, what sparks the ideas for writing music?  What advice would you give young musicians starting out for getting inspiration to write their own music and improving their craft?

A: Hammer something out at the piano every day, even if it’s not that good and get it down on paper. Learn how to read music so you can write it.

Don’t wait around for inspiration, learn the technique of composing so that you don’t need to rely on inspiration, which comes and goes.

Analyse songs and pieces that you think are good.

Focus on the parts that move you the most, transcribe them to the piano and try to work out why they sound good. There’s almost always a reason as to why they do.

Learn how to command a melody line against a bass line.

Learn how notes move and where they naturally want to lead.

Don’t take shortcuts, they’ll weaken your technique.

Q: What’s coming up for you through the rest of 2022?

A: My second album, ‘Dream like a Dogwood Wild Boy’ will be out on June 17th. So, I’ll be doing shows with my quintet throughout the year to promote this record. I’ll also be on the road performing the new Binker and Moses record ‘Feeding the Machine’ which is out now.

The Church of Sound All-Stars perform on Thursday 19 May, from 7.30pm at Church of Sound, Hackney, London. 

Get your tickets now!