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

Equanimity

Equanimity

Edward Simon
Sorrows & Triumphs

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
Read more articles
Sorrows & Triumphs

Sorrows & Triumphs

Sunnyside Records
2018

buy
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

Related Articles

Read Good Music CD/LP/Track Review
Good Music
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Jazz Tango CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz Tango
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read The Berlin Concert CD/LP/Track Review
The Berlin Concert
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 18, 2018
Read IMA IMA CD/LP/Track Review
IMA IMA
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Breathe CD/LP/Track Review
Breathe
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Stillness & Sirens CD/LP/Track Review
Stillness & Sirens
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 17, 2018
Read "Heart Knows" CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 2, 2018
Read "Music IS" CD/LP/Track Review Music IS
by John Kelman
Published: March 9, 2018
Read "Octopus" CD/LP/Track Review Octopus
by Don Phipps
Published: February 28, 2018
Read "You / Me" CD/LP/Track Review You / Me
by John Eyles
Published: January 9, 2018
Read "Songs Without Words" CD/LP/Track Review Songs Without Words
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 3, 2017
Read "Bright Yellow with Bass" CD/LP/Track Review Bright Yellow with Bass
by John Sharpe
Published: December 2, 2017