Brooklyn Jazz With Universal Appeal


David Bindman Ensemble: Sunset Park Polyphony (David Bindman)

Bindman -- familiar from the Brooklyn Sax Quartet and his work with Anthony Braxton, Fred Ho, Ehran Elisha, Kevin Norton, and others -- has been slowly but surely building a small yet impressive discography as a leader. This self-released two-CD sextet album is his masterpiece so far, mixing modal jazz with worldbeat rhythms in a sort of concept album about places, finding one's place in the world, and interaction -- the sort of socially aware jazz program that Shepp and Coltrane were known for in the second half of the '60s, with some musical similarities as well, albeit still sounding like 21st century jazz.

Bindman's compositions (he wrote all the tracks) are consistently compelling; they're melodic and rhythmic enough to be easily accessible, but complex enough and profound enough to reward deep listening, with piquant harmonies from the horns and moments of refreshing counterpoint. The band's not star-filled by the standards of the average music fan, but NYC jazz aficionados will recognize enough names to realize how good it is: trumpeter Frank London, trombonist Reut Regev, pianist Art Hirahara, bassist Wes Brown, and drummer Royal Hartigan.

Brooklynites -- and denizens of other boroughs willing to ride the subway -- have two excellent opportunities to hear this band in person this week:

Friday, 5/18, 3:30 PM at the Sunset Park Library, 5108 4th Ave. at 51st St (R train, 53rd Street stop)

Saturday, 5/19, 1:30 PM at the Windsor Terrace Library, 160 E. 5th St. at Fort Hamilton Parkway (F/G trains, Fort Hamilton Parkway stop)

Whether in concert or on record -- ideally, both -- David Bindman is someone whose work you should become familiar with, because music this good needs to be shared. - Steve Holtje

steve-holtjeMr. Holtje is a Brooklyn-based editor, poet, and composer. Early this month he edited and mixed the recording of his song cycle setting five of James Joyce's Pomes Penyeach, which can be heard here.