October 15th, 2012
On Saturday the 2012 Earshot Jazz Festival continued with the wonderful Panama-born piano virtuoso Danilo Perez who has established himself as one of the preeminent jazz musicians of his generation. Writing in the New York Times, music critic Ben Ratliff praised him as “a bold example of the musicological rethinking of jazz.”
Perez earned Grammy nominations for his recordings in 1999 and 2001 and was nominated in 2001 and 2002 by the Jazz Journalists Association for Pianist of the Year, but the pianist is perhaps best known as a member of Wayne Shorter’s quartet with John Patitucci and Brian Blade. Featured in tonight’s performance are bassist Ben Street and drummer Adam Cruz, Perez’s longtime trio-mates also at the core of Providencia, his latest CD and debut on Mack Avenue Records.
On that record, Perez says, “It was crucial to me that we highlight the trio, because there’s a vocabulary that we’ve developed over the years.” The trio has developed its own volatile dynamic, one that’s “very unpredictable,” Perez says, “leaving a lot of space for freedom, but keeping connected to some of the Latin ideas about rhythm.”
The global ensemble Perez assembled for the album, no doubt a bow to his time with the legendary Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nations Orchestra, includes Indian American saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, Lebanese American percussionist Jamey Haddad, Colombian conga player Ernesto Diaz, Portuguese vocalist Sara Serpa and a Boston-based woodwind quintet. “I wanted to have an environment where we were affected by other instruments and colors, but also completely unaffected,” he says.