Produced by David Binney and Edward Simon
Post Production and Editing: David Binney
Executive Producer: Sergio Veschi
Cover painting by Nury Ferrer
Edward Simon & David Binney
Fiesta De Agosto
1.Dawn Of Indifference 5.50
3. Coast Of The Desert 4.53
4.Ask The Dust 6.25
5. True to Life 5.58
6.August 7.06 (David Binney)
(David Binney/Edward Simon)
8. Unknown Path 2.00
9. I Hear A Rhapsody 7.30
10. Immersion 3.56
(David Binney/Edward Simon)
11. True To Life (reprise) 3.53
12.When You Return 2.35
13. Lifelong 0.46
(David Binney/Edward Simon)
On Track 2,8 And 12 And
Additional Alto Flute,
On Track 8
by Luca Conti
It took a little while, but in the long run Ed Simon and Dave Binney have succeeded in persuading Sergio Veschi to issue a CD that documents their long-standing duo collaboration. Their partnership is by any means not an occasional one, as both participants are keen to point out.
What follows is a short summary of what happened in the last few years. During an interview that appeared just before Afinidad (Red 296) came out, Ed Simon told Vittorio LoConte about a duo CD they had been egging Sergio Veschi on; Red's owner and producer, chose to issue their small group material instead (Afinidad, by the way, is really a great record; catch it if you can, while waiting for the promised second instalment). I wrote the liner notes for that CD, and I can still remember my surprise in seeing how Binney and Simon were always trying to cut out huge slices of dialogue between each other. At that time I thought, too, that a duo CD would have been a very interesting enterprise.
And there it is. No more daydreaming, then: Binney and Simon have recorded together, all by themselves, and Red Records has boldly stepped out with what must be considered a very unusual move for a record label whose recent trends have never been so overtly experimental. But every time you happen to find music of such a high level, you lose every right, if any, to pigeonhole musicians and styles. This CD is a glorious addition to Red Records' catalogue, stating clearly that some of the most important things that a good record label must look for are broadmindedness and creativity.
Upon listening, the most striking point of the session is the absolute concentration that hovers about. The duo formula in jazz has never been easy: any showmanship must be reduced to a minimum in order to obtain satisfying and lasting results. Lee Konitz, for instance, has taught everyone a lot in this area, changing partners as often as possible and always trying to draw out their best. This is a lesson that Binney and Simon have learned well. Their partnership has been well tested in many circumstances: it is not a casual meeting that happened onstage during a festival or at a jam session. Red Records, by the way, has a long tradition in conceiving and launching successful meetings, and many examples can be found in its catalogue: the great encounter, for instance, between Dave Liebman and Franco D'Andrea, whose ambiance is strikingly similar to the Binney and Simon collaboration (but it would be unfair not to remember the successful duos of Kenny Barron and
Buster Williams, Cedar Walton and
David Williams, Julius Hemphill and Abdul Wadud, Johnny Diyani
and Clifford Jarvis). A two-way conversation, in jazz, is like walking on a tightrope without a safety net (or, better still, makes you feel like you are looking to a couple of trapeze artists); more so with Binney and Simon, who never run for cover with standards and blues (and their original, translucent reading of an old chestnut such as I Hear a Rhapsody is the exception that proves the rule), proudly sticking to a thought-provoking set list of original tunes.
This duo, it must be said, works on equal terms; we are not listening to a saxophone player's record date with piano accompaniment. This, too, helps to make clear how every little detail has been well worked out in advance. Binney and Simon have known each other, personally and musically, for quite a long time, and it shows: at times, their mutual understanding can be almost unbelievable (and, anyway, you've got to hear it to believe it).
It seems to me that the words I wrote some years ago about Afinidad can still be used for this CD. Here they are, then: « […]
emphasis has been put on a communion of purposes; and from its first listening, it is clear that both co-leaders have found particularly satisfying and complementary the concept of playing together. Binney is, no doubt, blessed with a sense of detachment; his saxophone lines do shine in an almost geometric sense, under a cold and sharp light. It's up to Simon to warm up this atmosphere, thanks to a lightness and firmness of touch which - to say the least - is quite extraordinary, and to a lyricism of resounding evocative power […].
There is no way that Dave Binney and Ed Simon can be considered superstars, in the jazz world, but they are unquestionably two of the strongest and most creative musicians alive, releasing as strong a corpus of high-quality music as any available on today's crowded and gasping market. Do not use this CD as background music: give it the maximum care and the respect it deserves. It is demanding music, of course, and it needs a willing listener, but it gives back quite a lot. You'll be the judge, of course, but please keep a free and unbiased mind. This way, you will discover a whole new world, a passionate flame burning low beneath a deceiving superhuman self-control.
The musicians did their best, and the producer as well; what this record needs now is an appreciative and enthusiastic audience, ready and able to bestow a well-deserved success upon all the parties involved.