489

David Binney / Edward Simon: Oceanos

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Reconvening the same core quartet as on Afinidad (Red, 2001), altoist David Binney and pianist Edward Simon demonstrate how a collaborative effort can bear the distinct imprint of each musician while, at the same time, possessing its own indelible stamp.

Binney and Simon have emerged, over the past decade, as leaders in an evolving musical context informed by broader cultural concerns, often complex harmonic and rhythmic foundations, and a fresh thematic approach that's eminently lyrical yet steadfastly avoids the obvious. Both are fine soloists, able to combine a sense of the cerebral with deeper emotional resonance. Teamed with bassist Scott Colley and drummer Brian Blade, Océanos is a compellingly listenable album, despite some considerable challenges hidden underneath the covers.

Binney's "We Dream Oceans" opens the disc with simmering intensity. Percussionist Pernell Saturnino augments Blade's delicate touch, while guitarist Adam Rogers and Binney double a theme that first stands alone but is ultimately countered by Luciana Souza's wordless vocals. Simon builds a lithely focused solo that gradually intensifies, leading to a recapitulation of the theme and a solo from Binney that's as much about the sound of the notes as the notes themselves, building to a fever pitch only to fade to a gentler coda.

While there's plenty of solo space, Océanos is as much about composition and arrangement, with Binney and Simon making judicious use of the added guests. Binney's polyrhythmic and Latin-esque "El Parrandero" makes full use of the three-piece horn section, creating a sound that's at times sharply pointed, other times richly expansive, contrasting with "We Dream Oceans" where the horns are used only briefly to reinforce the tune's final figure.

Simon's 9/4 "Impossible Question" is first heard in expanded form, with Rogers' acoustic guitar solo navigating the pianist's changes with ease and Blade delivering a short but energetic solo. Binney's most powerful improvisation of the set is heard on a later reprise; a shorter but more texturally lush version that's expanded to include the horn section and percussion.

Binney's closer, "Home," begins with a poignant theme that unfolds gradually but keeps returning to the same four-chord pattern. Colley and Simon both deliver lyrical solos before returning to the theme, leading into a repetition of that same four-chord pattern as a foundation for Binney's final solo which, bolstered by the rest of the group, builds the "Home" to a powerful climax before ending on an etheral note.

Continuing to collaborate periodically over the years acts as a yardstick of both individual growth and a shared aesthetic for Binney and Simon. Océanos is their best pairing yet—an album that brings together two strong musical minds to create a whole that's truly greater than the sum of its parts.

Visit David Binney and Edward Simon on the web.


Track Listing: We Dream Oceans; Inpossible Question; Amnesia; El Parrandero; Govinda; Twenty Four Miles To Go; Impossible Question Reprise; Home.

Personnel: David Binney: alto saxophone; Edward Simon: piano; Scott Colley: bass; Brian Blade: drums; Luciana Souza: vocals (1, 2, 5, 6); Adam Rogers: guitar (2, 5); Shane Endsley: trumpet (3, 4, 7); Jesse Newman: trumpet (3, 4, 7); Alan Ferber: trombone (3, 4, 7); Pernell Saturnino: percussion (1, 4, 7).

Title: Oceanos | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Criss Cross


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Heart Knows CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Jersey CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Wobbly Danse Flower CD/LP/Track Review Wobbly Danse Flower
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Carry Fire CD/LP/Track Review Carry Fire
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 22, 2017
Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "Saluting Sgt. Pepper" CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "Apprentice" CD/LP/Track Review Apprentice
by Alex Franquelli
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "Salão Brazil" CD/LP/Track Review Salão Brazil
by John Sharpe
Published: March 30, 2017
Read "Danse" CD/LP/Track Review Danse
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Kansas City Here I Come" CD/LP/Track Review Kansas City Here I Come
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "Cub(an)ism" CD/LP/Track Review Cub(an)ism
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 17, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.