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Aire De Agua

by David Leon

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    CD of David Leon - Aire De Agua (OOYH 011), featuring a full inside spread of original artwork (CD only) by TJ Huff (, as well as liner note insert with words by pianist Kris Davis.

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Pina 06:13
Aire De Agua 06:41
A Hug a Day 02:57
Bluest Blue 05:27


David Leon - alto saxophone
Sonya Belaya - piano
Florian Herzog - bass
Stephen Boegehold - drums

Produced by David Leon & Eva Lawitts
Mixed and Mastered by Eivind Opsvik, Greenwood Underground
Recorded on February 9, 2020 at Big Orange Sheep in Brooklyn, NY
All compositions by David Leon (Davidleonmusic, ASCAP)
Artwork + design by TJ Huff (

Made possible with support from The National Youngarts Foundation


released August 27, 2021

Endless thanks to Sonya, Stephen, and Florian for their time and commitment to making this music so special. To sage Eva for her encouragement and insight. To Eivind, for making these recordings sparkle. To Kris, for her guidance. And to so many gigantic sets of ears that helped shape this along the way - Lesley, Henry, Tal, Lex, Kenneth, Garrett. To my parents, for their unwavering love and support always. And to Adam and TJ for making this music a physical reality.

Liner Notes by Kris Davis:

I met David when he was attending the School for Improvisational Music summer workshop. Instantly impressed with his versatility as a composer and improviser, I could see he was eager to relocate to New York and make his mark on the creative music scene. After he moved, I requested to mentor David through The Jazz Gallery’s mentorship program during which we performed a series of shows, comprising duo dates as well as a quartet alongside Tom Rainey and Michael Formanek. For the project, he composed pieces that fluidly combine written material and improvisation. It was clear that he was moving towards a personal language through these compositions and refining his expression as a composer and improviser.

Aire De Agua is further evidence of that evolution. Poised for expansion, David gleans conceptual ideas from art forms outside music; at the same time, he allows his work to reflect what he observes and experiences. Selecting a durational performance from artist Marina Abramovic as structural impetus for composing “Bluest Blue,” David pays tribute not only to her work but to her influence: “Marina is an inspiration to me, as someone who pushes her mind and body beyond their limits in pursuit of something greater.” Choreographer Pina Bausch’s works sparked his idea for “Pina,” a piece that obscures the ensemble’s timbral identities through what he calls “sonic illusion” in which the snare drum’s cross stick imitates the saxophone’s slap tongue.

Meaningful connections with fellow artists shape David’s artistic vision. His compositions become vessels for his bandmates to express themselves, connecting with the music and each other. I find it fitting the title track of his debut record features his fellow artists’ performances perhaps more explicitly than his own. In David’s words, Aire De Agua attempts to offer “a dynamic where all four voices are closer to equal in weight". To me, this notion—along with the inclusion of a saxophoneless trio piece “A Hug A Day”—reflects his capacity for expressive empathy and, ultimately, artistic growth.

A powerful and rewarding listen, Aire De Agua documents an initial upsweep of what promises to be the long elegant arc of David Leon’s career. The creative energy and humanity behind each composition—scripted and spontaneous—kindles an inexhaustible motivation to refine his voice and elevate his craft.

--Kris Davis

OOYH 011


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David Leon Brooklyn, New York

David Leon is a Cuban-American saxophonist, woodwinds player, and composer/improviser living in Brooklyn, New York.

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