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Alto saxophonist David Binney and pianist Edward Simon first met in 1989 when Simon played on Binney's debut record, Point Game (Owl, 1989). They have since collaborated five times. Oceanos is their sixth recording together, which Binney sees as the continuation of Afinidad (Red, 2001).
Binney and Simon are men of ideas which they fathom with skill, yet they are studies in contrast. Binney is an intense player who digs deep into the context of the tune and fills it with a swelling ripeness. Simon has a calmer edge washed in an incipient beauty. Together they complement each other perfectly. Binney rolls slowly into the swell of "We Dream Oceans, his alto warm and broad as Luciana Souza hauntingly vocalizes the melody. Simon plays with delicacy, bringing in a range of stimulating ideas that gradually gather intensity. Even as he gets into the thick, he keeps the momentum lithe. It is the beckoning for Binney who gets flinty and edgy, his notes short and sharp, a driving force of creative power.
Brian Blade on drums and Pernel Saturnino on percussion flex the pulse of "El Parrendero before guitarist Adam Rogers opens the melody and enriches it with his phrasing. Binney takes it into another direction; a breezy Latin undulation that is heady and swaying, which Simon grabs with both hands, his right turning the music into a compelling experience with his delightful improvisation, the left locking in the chords and underlining the emphasis.
"Govinda unfurls with delicacy. Binney wafts in softly through Simon's arpeggios. Sousa is the vocal catalyst; she does not need words, her voice conveys the message. The balance is airy, the emotion deep, the effect mesmerizing.
The quartet, with a little help from its friends, continues to cast a spell.