Thursday, December 19, 2013

David Buchbinder's Odessa / Havana band

I know there is no straight road. No straight road in this world. Only a giant labyrinth of intersecting cossroads (Quote: Federico Garcia Lorca)
Walk to the Sea
Hans Koert

When I first heard the intro of the opening tune Coffee Works of David Buchbinder's latest album Walk to the Sea, it really hit me - it brought me right into the music of remote parts of the world ….. Klezmer music - the oud - the viola of Eastern Europe and the music from Cuba in the best Afro-Cuban tradition ..... As I said ...... the intro remembered me to our holidays to the Mid East and this mix of styles touched the right chord.  Walk to the Sea, the latest David Buchbinder's  Odessa-Havana Band album made a good start with its strong opener Coffee Works

David Buchbinder ( press photo)

David Buchbinder, trumpet, fluegelhorn player and composer, for many years leader of his Toronto based Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band once ask his rhythm section to start up with a rumba beat, I found in a Steve Hochman review ( at  and in the mean time he sung an old Hebrew text of Machar Chodesh, he remembered by heart from his bar mitzvah some 35 years ago. And this rather weird mix of styles sounded great …. This experiment opened his eyes and as he had played  in salsa bands in Germany during the mid 80s, he started to experiment again with those Latin music styles.  In April 2006 he invited  the well known Cuban born piano player Hilario Duran to develop his ideas  and a year later the debut album of their Odessa / Havana band was recorded.

Although it seems a rather artificial mix of styles it isn’t …… One key reason it works so well, David Buchbinder told Steve Hochman, is historically connected from medieval Spain. The Conquistadors came to the New World from Spain, from Andalusia, around the same time the Jews were expelled from the same place.  Many of the Jews went to Eastern Europe. So what existed in Spain went to Eastern Europe.

The Odessa - Havana Band (press photo)

The debut album became very popular and its fans had to wait for the follow-up recording up to a few month’s ago. Walk to the Sea.
Piano player Hilario Duran is well known due to his cooperation with the Cuban-born trumpet player Arturo Sandoval.  Born in 1953 in Cuba, nick named Con Tumbao, because for his creative use of repetitive bass figures, graduated 1981 at the Amadeo Rodan Conservatory in Havana, where he debuted with Arturo Sandoval’s early groups, recorded in 1981 ( .. y su grupo). Hilario can be found at dozens of Sandoval's recordings.  Hilario also joined concerts with Dizzy Gillespie and had his own band Perspectiva.  
Hilario Duran
(press photo)
Nowadays he lives also in Toronto (Canada), where he is an invaluable member of the Jazz Faculty at Humber College.
Walk to the Sea
Other members of the Odessa / Havana band are Aleksandar Gajic, a Serbian born violist, who lives now in Canada for ten years where he is part of bands like the Klezmer Beyond The Pale-World Music Ensemble; reed man John Johnson and in its rhythm section bass player Mark Kelso and several percussionists and oud players as guests. This second album by Buchbinder and Duran features also four tracks with Ladino-inspired songs by Maryem Hassan Tollar and Michael Cohen.

The album Walk to the Sea features nine tracks which takes the sound to a new level of power.
As said before I was surprised by its opening track – a great up-tempo track with Klezmer and Cuban influences. Enjoy the track Aventura Judia as played by this Odessa-Havana band at Berkley Repertoire Theatre ….

Enjoy another great fragment by the David Buchbinder’s Odessa / Havana band at the Small World Music Festival 2013:

Great stuff!

Hans Koert
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The Odessa-Havana band's latest album features, as the band name suggest, nine tracks in a mix of musical styles e.g. the Eastern European Klezmer styles in a mix of Afro-Cuban rhythms, originally born in Andalucia, the southern part of Spain, where Judeo-Spanish and Cuban cultures found its roots ....... The album Walk to the Sea is a fascinating album which depend the natural connection between these two great musical styles ......  Great stuff

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