As the name of his longstanding band suggests, saxophonist David Boykin thrives on wide-open spaces – and wide-open conceptual possibilities. While indebted to the intervallic leaps and floating time sense of Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians role models including Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell, he has never been shy about giving voice to funk and hip-hop trends. And with the savvy support of two Expanse veterans, perennially underrated pianist James Baker and bassist Joshua Abrams, Boykin pushes toward the mainstream in ways that are as pleasurable as they are savvy.
At the festival, Boykin will lead a special 10-piece version of Expanse on “Solar Suite,” an original celebration of the sun in its various phases that concludes with a section dedicated to Sun Ra. The band also will include drummer Marcus Evans, guitarist Alex Wing, saxophonists Eliel Sherman Storey and Jayve Montgomery and trumpeter Dan Godston. Boykin, whose Outet recorded a piece called “Evidence of Life on Other Planets, Vol. 1 and 2,” is ideally suited to saluting the mysteries and wonders of Ra, who as his fans well know descended to earth from Saturn.