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David Buchbinder: Odessa/Havana

Elliott Simon By

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Significant Jewish participation in the Latin dance craze of the 1950s resulted in several novelty fusion records that Latinized traditional Jewish melodies within a jazz context. By presenting the melody against a Latin rhythm, "Hava Nagilah" was thusly transformed into a cha-cha. In 2002, Cuban percussionist Roberto Rodriguez reinvented and dramatically advanced this sub-genre by beautifully blending danzon and klezmer into a new music. Trumpet player David Buchbinder of Canada's Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band has released Odessa/Havana and added yet another chapter to the union of Latin and Jewish music.

Partnering with Cuban pianist Hilario Duran, Buchbinder has created more of a symphonic statement that extols the best of both genres. While some pieces clearly ring more Latin than Jewish and vice versa, others blend aspects of both musics into a holistic experience that highlights the commonalities while celebrating the differences. Such is "Cadiz," artfully moving through a song cycle akin to the traditional klezmer doina-hora-freilach with its lovely rubato introduction that includes tsimbele mimicry, stately middle, Latin/klezmer blowout and forceful ending. Buchbinder and Duran are both powerful players who work well off each other on these dense compositions that have the added benefit of violinist Aleksander Gajic's bow—that can burn as well as caress—and multi-reedist Quinsin Nachoff's ability to expand the voicings.

The superb rhythm section of a quartet of drummer/percussionists and bassist Roberto Occhipinti has a field day stretching out on pieces like the darkly seductive "Next One Rising" and the polyrhythmic fusion of "Rumba Judia." The crew plays their collective arses off on big band numbers like the sonic stew of "Colaboracion" before ending things with a sprightly tribute celebrating the marriage of both genres aptly entitled "Freylekhs Tumbao."

Track Listing: Lailadance; Impresiones; Cadiz; Next One Rising; Rumba Judia; Prayer; Colaboracion; Freylekhs Tumbao.

Personnel: David Buchbinder: trumpet; Hilario Duran: piano; Qunsin Nachoff: reeds, flute; Aleksander Gajic: violin; Luis Guerra: piano; Mark Kelso: drums; Rick Shadrach: percussion; Dafnis Prieto: drums; Jorges Luis "Papiosco" Torres: percussion; John Gzowski: oud; Roberto Occhipinti: bass.

Title: Odessa/Havana | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Tzadik

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