Apparent Distance is a four-part suite, commissioned through a 2010 New Jazz Works grant from Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. In the liner notes, Bynum writes "My goal is not just to blur the lines between composition and improvisation (a long-time pursuit), but to try to upend the listeners’ expectations in other ways: circular melodies without beginnings or ends, disguised unisons and non-repetitive vamps, transitions that are simultaneously jarring and organic. Most importantly, I want to spotlight the striking individuality and virtuosity of all the players, albeit in a context where the needs of the ensemble reign supreme – a concerto for sextet, if you will." Since the composition’s premiere in August 2010, the sextet has performed the work on tour and at the Saalfelden Jazz Festival (Austria), the Banlieues Bleues Festival (France), and the Crosscurrents Festival (New York).
Jim Macnie of the Village Voice writes “Whether they’re lines that swirl upward, chasing their own tail, or lines that spill downward, like a Slinky on a staircase, the elemental motifs of the cornetist/composer’s pieces are full of springy kinetics. But they’re more than mere nu-jazz puzzles. Bynum wrings emotion from his crew. His use of texture and trajectory has to do with his appreciation of passion.” Dan Barry reviewed a performance in the New Haven Advocate: "Composition-wise, the piece features Gordian melodies (more math-metal than post-bop), free jazz, blazing fast swing and segments of improvisation bound by pre-defined tonal sets. It’s clear that Bynum has a specific vision for every musical moment...It was radical. It was f***ing awesome.”
“Thoughtfully tumultuous new album…It’s all seductively challenging, full of standout moments that nevertheless dissolve into the whole.” Nate Chinen, The New York Times
“Full of diversity and constant surprise…Bynum’s compositional language is his own.” Marc Medwin, Dusted
“It is both a thoroughly composed and an improvisational undertaking that swings as a conventional jazz sextet but challenges like a multi-directional chamber ensemble. Like Bynum himself, the music is not easily pigeonholed.” Mark Corroto, All About Jazz
“Brimming with circuitous melodies, modulating rhythms and dynamic transitions…Apparent Distance is a prime example of Bynum’s exemplary skills as a multifaceted artist and a captivating document of his flagship ensemble.” Troy Collins, Point of Departure
“Apparent Distance is a benchmark for methods that seek to move past the more recognizable conventions of the idiom. Efforts to incorporate sound craft, hewing close to nature sound metaphors, have rarely been this vivid.” Chris Rich, All About Jazz
“His mid-size group slowly smudges the lines between foreground and background as well as improv and composition. Throw the GPS out the window; not being able to pinpoint their position is a wonderful predicament to be in, if only for an hour or so. And damn, is some of this outcat action pretty.” Jim Macnie, Village Voice