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David Buchbinder: Odessa/Havana

Toronto trumpeter David Buchbinder took on the challenge of combining the worlds of Jewish and Cuban music on his new CD. With pianist Hilario Durán (also a Toronto resident) playing and helping with the compositions, they have created some amazing arrangements that prove that these styles share more common ground than one might expect. Minor Israeli melodies fit surprisingly well into polyrhythmic Cuban grooves. But what lifts this album even further off the ground is Buchbinder’s choice of instrumentation. His trumpet and flugelhorn share the frontline with Aleksandar Gajic’s violin and Quinsin Nachoff’s reeds, which include clarinet, bass clarinet and saxophones.

The sound they make together adds to the haunting harmony of “Lailadance” and makes “Next One Rising” sound like a feverish mariachi group. Many of the tracks feature several different sections, going from rubato to an exposition before locking into a groove. “Cadiz” offers the best example, with piano and oud soloing over a drone before the group makes a slow build toward a 15/8 riff that the three-man drums and percussion section drives like a dance beat. Along with the appropriately titled “Colaboración,” which Buchbinder and Durán cowrote, Odessa/Havana unites these two musics without losing the edge of either source.

Originally Published