All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

350

Edward Simon & David Binney: Fiestas de Agosto

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
With the possible exception of solo performance, there is no more exposed format than the duet. But while solo playing allows for more complete freedom of interpretation, the duet demands, perhaps, a greater sense of responsibility, without the safety net afforded by larger groupings. In the duet format there is no room for error; risks are taken with the knowledge that there is little to hide behind, and the expectation that one's partner simply has to be there without fail at all times.

Still, the duet also provides a great opportunity for liberated interplay; with only one foil there is a chance for greater exploration, as long as the two players are intimately simpatico. Such is the case with pianist Edward Simon and woodwind multi-instrumentalist David Binney, who have been working together in a variety of contexts for over fifteen years. The result of their long-term association is the kind of attention to detail, and ability to intuit the subtlest turn of phrase, that makes their first album as a duo, Fiestas de Agosto, such a treat. It's more than just playing a phrase in unison, and it's more than catching onto an improvised motif; it's about being able to anticipate and lock into the smallest variation in parlance, as well as more overt rhythmic and melodic conceits.

Simon, a Venezuelan native who relocated to New York many years ago, is, like more recent newcomer Luis Perdomo, an artist who has been able to transcend his Latin and Afro-Cuban roots, while at the same time not ignoring them. His "Fiestas begins with an almost Gismonti-like abstraction, opening with Binney's dissonant flutes, transforming into an abstruse theme over Simon's time-staggered chords before shifting into a more straightforward 3/4 time modal vamp.

While he hasn't yet achieved widespread acclaim, Binney is emerging as a truly important figure, not just for his bold alto playing, which always seems to be rooted in compositional thought, but also for his writing, which is instantly recognizable. While his works for larger ensembles feature heavy use of counterpoint and signature stylistic conceits like tenor and alto saxophones playing in unison, his compositions are no less distinctive when pared down. With Simon's advanced left/right hand independence and Binney's carefully chosen notes, they imply more than what is actually played.

It would be missing the point to define this collaboration in terms of one player accompanying the other. While there are clear solo demarcations and structures that place one instrument more out front, this is a true collaboration, more about a collective sound and a combined aesthetic. While there are no sharp edges here, there are a variety of emotions on display, from the pensive lyricism of "Ask the Dust to the more joyous "True to Life (reprise).

Contrasting the light with the dark, the introspective with the outgoing, Fiestas de Agosto is the result of two players working with a shared understanding and a clearly similar set of musical goals.

Track Listing: Dawn of Indifference; Fiestas; Coast of the Desert; Ask the Dust; True to Life; August; Moment; Unknown Path; I Hear a Rhapsody; Immersion; True to Life (reprise); When You Return; Lifelong.

Personnel: David Binney: alto and soprano saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute (2, 8, 12); Edward Simon: piano; Donny McCaslin: additional alto flute, flute and clarinet (8).

Title: Fiestas de Agosto | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Red Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

The Cha Cha

The Cha Cha

Edward Simon
La Bikina

How Deep Is The Ocean

How Deep Is The Ocean

Edward Simon
Danny Boy

CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Take Five With...
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Latin American Songbook

Latin American...

Sunnyside Records
2017

buy
Agora

Agora

Simon Music Productions
2015

buy
Venezuelan Suite

Venezuelan Suite

Sunnyside Records
2014

buy
Edward Simon Trio: Live in New York at Jazz Standard

Edward Simon Trio:...

Sunnyside Records
2013

buy
Live in New York at Jazz Standard

Live in New York at...

Sunnyside Records
2013

buy
Venezuelan Suite

Venezuelan Suite

Sunnyside Records
2013

buy

Related Articles

Read Orientation CD/LP/Track Review
Orientation
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 18, 2018
Read Romaria CD/LP/Track Review
Romaria
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 18, 2018
Read You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl! CD/LP/Track Review
You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl!
by Jerome Wilson
Published: February 18, 2018
Read Autres Paysages CD/LP/Track Review
Autres Paysages
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 18, 2018
Read Elvesang CD/LP/Track Review
Elvesang
by John Kelman
Published: February 17, 2018
Read Necessary Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Necessary Arrangements
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 17, 2018
Read "Poetry from the Future" CD/LP/Track Review Poetry from the Future
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 30, 2017
Read "Trio / Chinese Jesus" CD/LP/Track Review Trio / Chinese Jesus
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 26, 2017
Read "Absolutely Live II" CD/LP/Track Review Absolutely Live II
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: January 4, 2018
Read "92 Years Young: Jammin' At The Gibbs House" CD/LP/Track Review 92 Years Young: Jammin' At The Gibbs House
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 5, 2017
Read "Nerve Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Nerve Dance
by John Sharpe
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "Notes Over Poetry" CD/LP/Track Review Notes Over Poetry
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 11, 2017