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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

David Buchbinder

By Michael Stone
Published June 6, 2008

Odessa/Havana
Tzadik

New York isn’t the only crossroads of the diaspora for people of Jewish, Cuban and African origin. Trumpeter, composer and cultural activist David Buchbinder (leader of the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band) joins here with Hilario Durán, dubbed by Chucho Valdés himself as “one of the greatest contemporary Cuban pianists.” They’re backed by a cast of Toronto-based jazz and classical masters: Quinsin Nachoff (reeds, flute), Aleksander Gajic (violin), Mark Kelso (drums), Rick Shadrach Lazar (percussion), and from Cuba, Dafnis Prieto (drums) and Roberto Occhipinti (bass)—an ensemble whose collective resume includes work with Durán, Jane Bunnett, Michel Camilo, Steve Coleman, Chico O’Farrill, Eddie Palmieri, and the Serbian Radio-Television Symphony Orchestra. In lesser hands, this fusion of Cuban, Iberian, North African, Sephardic-Levantine, Eastern European, Romani gypsy and jazz strains might yield a loose-fitting jumble of exotic sounds that never quite gels, but the group on Odessa/Havana capitalizes on the polyrhythmic pulse at the core of both Afro-Cuban and Balkan music to create a supple and suggestive hybrid.