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Binney was born in Miami, Florida, and was raised in Carpenteria, California. From his parents, who loved music, he heard albums by John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, and Jimi Hendrix. He took saxophone lessons in Los Angeles. When he was nineteen, he moved to New York City and studied with saxophonists George Coleman, Dave Liebman, and Phil Woods. A grant from the National Endowment for the Arts helped him record his first album, Point Game (Owl, 1991). In the 1990s, he started his own label, Mythology Records.
He has been of several bands, including Lost Tribe, Jagged Sky, Lan Xang, the Gil Evans Orchestra, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, and Medeski Martin & Wood. He has also worked with Adam Rogers, Alex Sipiagin, Ben Monder, Ben Perowsky, Bill Frisell, Bobby Previte, Brian Blade, Cecil McBee, Craig Taborn, David Gilmore, Edward Simon, Eivind Opsvik, Jacob Sacks, James Genus, Jim Black, Jim Hall, Kenny Wollesen, Leni Stern, Lonnie Plaxico, Mark Turner, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Nate Wood, Scott Colley, Steven Bernstein, Thomas Morgan, Tim Lefebvre, Wayne Krantz.
|1995||The Luxury of Guessing||AudioQuest|
|1998||Free to Dream||Mythology|
|1998||Lan Xang, Lan Xang||Mythology|
|2000||Lan Xang, Hidden Gardens||Naxos|
|2003||A Small Madness||Auand|
|2004||Welcome to Life||Mythology|
|2005||Fiestas de Agosto||Red|
|2005||Bastion of Sanity||Criss Cross|
|2006||Out of Airplanes||Mythology|
|2006||Cities and Desire||Criss Cross|
|2009||In the Paint||Posi-Tone|
|2011||Barefooted Town||Criss Cross|
|2013||Lifted Land||Criss Cross|
|2015||Other Colors of Herate|
|2017||The Time Verses||Criss Cross|
With Uri Caine
With Scott Colley
- Architect of the Silent Moment (CAM Jazz, 2005 )
With John Escreet
- Exception to the Rule (Criss Cross, 2011)
With Antonio Sánchez
- New Life (CAM Jazz, 2013)
With Alex Sipiagin
- Nastos, Michael G.,  AllMusic. Retrieved January 27, 2019
- Fordham, John (26 May 2011). "David Binney: Graylen Epicenter – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
- Nastos, Michael G. "David Binney | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
- "David Binney | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 February 2017.