David Buchbinder’s Odessa/Havana – Jewish/Cuban musical mash-up – DB Works

by | Dec 15, 2007 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

David Buchbinder’s Odessa/Havana – Jewish/Cuban musical mash-up – DB Works TZ 8121, 49:48 ****:

(David Buchbinder, trumpet/composer; Hilario Duran, piano/composer; Quinsin Machoff, reeds/flute; Aleksander Gajic, violin; Guis Guerra, piano; Mark Kelso, drums; Rick Shadrach Lazar, percussion; Dafnis Prieto, drums; Jorges Luis Papiosco Torres, percussion; Robert Occhipiati, bass & producer)

This is more than the usual quartet, that’s for sure, and this is a different sort of crossover – don’t recall the mix of Jewish and Cuban genres before.  It’s a unique delight!  Buchbinder has put together some of the top musicians he found in Canada, steeped in either the Yiddish/klezmer genre or Cuban/Latin music. Pianist Duran is one of the great current Cuban pianists.

Turns out there are a number of shared things between the two seemingly disparate musical cultures: they had a common ancestry on the Iberian peninsula before the 16th century, they share Arabic, Gypsy, Sephardic and and North African forebears. The deeply spiritual undergirds both their musics, as well as haunting minor modalities and a strong rhythmic impulse. The mambo craze of the 1950s had a strong Jewish element to it, but nothing quite like the sounds on this CD. There’s a musical melting-pot in Toronto where new sounds that go beyond their cultures of origin are coming together and developing into something new and exciting. It’s almost like the creative music scene in Amsterdam.

The longest track on the eight-selection album is Cadiz, and this is definitely a Sephardic Cadiz.  The composition has almost symphonic pretensions. I could imagine it being a movement of a Spanish suite by Ellington. Great trumpet solo by Buchbinder.  His style reminds me of Freddie Hubbard. And it’s not all wild uptempo stuff: Prayer is a slow, devotional piece featuring Buchbinder’s trumpet in a Yiddish sort of mood. Mazeltov/Ole! say I. [There’s something in the notes I was supplied about the disc being by this time released on John Zorn’s Tzadik label.]

TrackList: Lailadance, Impresiones, Cadiz, Next One Rising, Rumba Judia, Prayer, Colaboracion, Freylekhs Tumbao.

 – John Henry

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