David Buchbinder: Walk to the Sea
Speaking of fusion, the sounds of funk and jazz loom large throughout this album, in the best possible ways. "Aventura Judia" floats a jazzy ethnic melody over a traditional Latin rhythm that gets a chunk of funky energy from Mark Kelso's kitwork. The combination of disparate elements locks together beautifully, providing a rich tonal- rhythmic palette for dynamic piano, saxophone and trumpet solos. Roberto Occhipinti's bass steps forward on the title track, joined by oud and dumbeq before the rest of the band kicks in. Here, as on the opening "Coffee Works," the approach is to work with Middle Eastern rhythms using a Latin jazz approach; the descarga goes to Cairo, if you will, though Buchbinder's and Duran's vision is quite a bit deeper than that.
Though Odessa / Havana's previous album was recorded 7 years ago, several key players have stuck around for Walk to the Sea. Besides Buchbinder Duran, and Kelso, string player Aleksandar Gajic also returns. The core of the group, therefore, has the grace and telepathy of experience. The key new member is ace saxophonist John Johnson; an interesting addition to the group. Best known as Canada's top session saxophonist- the David Sanborn of the Great White North, perhaps-Johnson shows considerable stylistic range here and does everything but play out of a studio- facile bag of tricks. His big, raw tenor is right out of the soul-jazz tradition-think Stanley Turrentine, Billy Harper, or Booker Ervin-but the emotional pitch and rhythmic footing of his solos on "Valentin," "Aventura Judia," and "Landarico" are spot-on. Duran is the sort of dynamic, percussive piano virtuoso that one thinks of whenever the phrase "Cuban pianist" comes up in conversation. Buchbinder is perhaps the least-heralded player here, given the quantity and quality of his solos. He has a hard, clear, clarion almost classical trumpet sound, but with a jazzman's phrasing and whip-smart spontaneity. Violinist Gajic comes from the classical world, but improvises here with the wild abandon of a crazed Gypsy.
Walk to the Sea is simply wonderful multi- cultural musical experiment; one that fires on all cylinders from beginning to end.
Track Listing: Coffee Works; Landarico; Aventura Judia; La Roza Una; Walk To The Sea; La Roza Dos; Valentin; Calliope; Conja.
Personnel: David Buchbinder: trumpet, flugelhorn; Hilario Duran: piano; Roberto Occhipinti: bass; Mark Kelso: drums, bata, percussion; John Johnson: clarinet, tenor and soprano saxophones, alto flute; Aleksandar Gajic: violin, viola; Joaquin Nuñez Hidalgo: congas, dumbeq, bata, chekere; Maryem Hassan Tollar: vocals (4, 6, 9); Michal Cohen: vocals (2); Ernesto Gatell: bata; Jamey Haddad: riq, frame drum, dumbeq (3-6); Bassam Bishara: oud; Demetrios Petsalakis: oud; Elmer Ferrer: tres.
Record Label: Tzadik