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.”