Odessa/Havana from 2007 is an album that is as fresh and unique as any you are likely to have heard in a very long time. Powerfully upbeat, this cheeky collaboration was conceived by trumpet player David Buchbinder (Flying Bulgur Klezmer Band ) and pianist/composer Hilario Durán and unites their love and expertise of Jewish and Cuban music respectively. And it really swings!
This album is all about enthusiasm and you can hear it in every song – there is passion, superior musicianship and historical references in every beat. But of course, this is not the first time that Cuban music and Jewish music have been an item. Irving Fields (a clever New York band leader) also heard the underlying similarities in both rhythm and tempo between the two genres and created a blend of his own that was both adventurous and a bit sexy for the time. The resulting Bagels and Bongos sold a respectable 2 million copies in 1959 and was well received. Havannah Negila from this vintage record really has to be heard to be believed. It is just wild even years later!
My favourite track on Odessa/Havana is Freyleckhs Tumbao which allows the listener to hear each culture very distinctly (especially the big nod to Eastern European Jewish dance) but there’s enough Cuban rhythm injected to elevate the whole piece to another more complex level. It is also played at warp speed making it a formidable dance tune!
The musicians here have obviously been chosen very thoughtfully for their roles and that is another reason for Odessa/Havana's richly layered sound - opening track Lailadance really gets the beat swinging and is extremely hooky. Try to sit still while listening!
This is a cd that would appeal to jazz, Latin and world music fans alike as well as to anyone who likes the idea of turbo charged klezmer music. Which I certainly do!
Here is the musician line up for the album:
David Buchbinder: trumpet, fluegelhorn
Hilario Durán: piano
Quinsin Nachoff: tenor sax, soprano sax, clarinet, bass clarinet
Roberto Occhipinti: bass
Mark Kelso: drums (tracks 4-7)
Dafnis Prieto: drums (tracks 1-3,8)
Rick Dhadrach Lazar: dumbek, riq,bells, gong, surdo
Jorge Luis ‘Papiosco’ Torres: congas, bongos
Special Guest John Gzoeski: oud on tracks 3 and 6
Buy Odessa/Havana from Amazon.com!