David Bindman bio

David began playing violin at five, at ten switched to alto sax, then played drums. Early on he listened to Hot Clarinets, a record given to him by his grandmother, to John Coltrane's albums Traneing In and Crescent, and to the musicians he saw perform in his hometown of Englewood, NJ, including Dizzy Gillespie. As a high school student living in Vermont, David began improvising and composing. He formed an ensemble with drummer Ben Wittman and pianist Jim Sugarman. During this time he studied with saxophonist Stephen Horenstein, took part in trumpeter Bill Dixon's class Bennington College, and performed with trumpeter Arthur Brooks' ensemble.

As an undergraduate at Wesleyan University in the early 1980s, David studied with saxophonist Bill Barron and trombonist Bill Lowe, and with master artists in Wesleyan's World Music Department. He was a member of Talking Drums, led by Ghanaian master drummers/Wesleyan faculty members Abraham Adzenyah and Freeman Donkor. Talking Drums toured the US and released Some Day Catch Some Day Down in 1987 (Shanachie, reissued on Innova in 2011). David was also part of the collective quartet JUBA, with  bassist Wes Brown, drummer royal hartigan, and Bill Lowe, and performed with trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith.

Living in New York since 1987, David has been involved with numerous performances and recordings, as both sideman and leader, and collaborative projects. In the early 1990s he collaborated with poet Tyrone Henderson and visual artist Quimetta Perle on the multimedia works The Madman and Strawman Dance, with performances at P.S. 122, the Nuyorican Poets Café, and the Green Room, Manchester, UK; the Strawman Dance CD was released in 1994 (Konnex). During the 90s David also formed his trio with Kevin Norton and Joe Fonda (Imaginings CIMP, 1997) and co-founded the Brooklyn Sax Quartet with Fred Ho. The Brooklyn Sax Quartet released two CDs, The Way of the Saxophone (Innova, 2001) and Far Side of Here (Omnitone, 2005). and toured the western US and Canada. In 2003 the BSQ performed David 's arrangement of Hector Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet live on WNYC's Soundcheck and at Joe's Pub at the Public Theater.

The collaboration between Wes Brown, royal hartigan, and David Bindman continued under hartigan's leadership as Blood Drum Spirit, joined by pianist Art Hirahara. In 2000 the group traveled to China for the first time. The group has performed and taught in the US, China, the Philippines, and Ghana, and release two CDs on innova, Blood Drum Spirit and Blood Drum Spirit Live in China. Their 2015 collaborations with Ghanaain musicians, dancers, singers, and poets are the subject of We Are One, a soon-to-be-released documentary film by Sara Pettenilla.

In 2006 David began composing and performing a series of extended suites for sextet. Sunset Park Polyphony was released in 2012, to wide critical praise. The Sextet has performed in NYC, conducted weeklong residencies at the University of Massachussets Dartmouth, and toured New England.

David was born in 1963 in New York City. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1985 and received an MA in World Music from Wesleyan in 1987. He has received grants from the Brooklyn Arts Council, the Queens Council on the Arts, the Puffin Foundation, Meet The Composer, and The Aaron Copland Fund for Music Performing Ensembles. He has taught in the New York City school system, at the Consortium for Worker Education, Bennington College, LaGuardia Community College, and The New School University, and has conducted master classes throughout the USA and in Canada.


Line drawing by Iliana Zamorska.
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