Danilo Perez … till then

One of life’s simple pleasures is listening to jazz pianist Danilo Perez, his musical imprint is well established as a pianist he speaks with a vocabulary of complex melodies enveloped in colorful and shifting harmonic rhythms. Henceforth, Danilo’s impressive arrangements and compositional skills are a guiding vehicle to propel any listener even further into the 21st Century with his latest conquest entitled “…Till Then”! 

The Players: Danilo Perez ~ Piano and Fender Rhodes, John Patitucci ~ Bass on (2, 3, 5, & 10), Brian Blade ~ Drums on (2, 3, 5, & 10), Ben Street ~ Bass (on tracks 1, 4, 7 & 8), Adam Cruz ~ Drums (on cuts 1, 4, 7, & 8) steel pan on (2 & 10) and Percussion (tracks 5 & 10), Lizz Wright ~ Vocals (3 & 9) and Donny McCaslin ~ Soprano Saxophone (tracks 5 &10).  

The opener “Native Soul” is a self-penned composition structured for a trio setting by Perez. Surprisingly this piece lasts a little over three minutes however, Danilo utilizes this space very well by sculpting and carefully molding this mid-tempo track with Corea like phrasings and melodies into a moment of everlasting joy. Bassist Ben Street and drummer Adam Cruz enhances Danilo’s glistening piano solos with authority.    

Gracias a la Vida falls into the second slot on “Till Then”. The velvety chops by the trio accent Perez’s tenacious piano stylings, he probes the keys eloquently serving up a cup of delightfully inspiring jazz. Percussionist Adam Cruz takes us for a tale spin with his steel pan solos balanced by Brian Blade’s precise drumming skills.

Lizz Wright lends her vocal talents too the title track “…Till Then”.  Ms Wright caresses this song spoken with proficiency with each verse. Danilo was wise to call upon Lizz to give her treatment to this lyrically powerful song.  

Danilo puts his touch too Stevie Wonders’Overjoyed” in a beautifully improvise setting. If you haven’t heard Danilo Perez before, then this should be no surprise, it comes highly recommended listening for starters. Danilo approaches Overjoyed like no other, his hefty dose of solos flows like a court jester as Cruz, Blasé and Patitucci adapt quickly by flexing they’re muscles much like featherweight champ going stepping into the ring for round two.  

Trocando em Miudos originally composed by a gentleman named Chico Buarque features saxophonist Donny McCaslin. The piece opens with a solo by bassist John Patitucci followed by Danilo’s piano prowess, which leads into Perez and McCaslin voices call upon each other interweaving their solos effortlessly pulling you into the groove making this an infectiously appetizing listening experience. 

At the sixth spot is a Perez scored a piano solo piece called “Improvisation on RedPerez’s piano stylings mirrors hints of classical training on this selection. Danilo demonstrates way he is one player to stay focused on and in tune with.   

The talented Ruben Blades wrote Paula C. adopted and re-arranged by Perez, with Street and Cruz holding down the fort as rhythm keepers translates into the cycle of oneness providing a proper dose of the groove. Mine you; Paula C is much like a caterpillar compositionally it crawls slowly as it excels in motion on its way to the top. 

Rabo de Nube penned by Silvio Rodriguez displays Danilo’s enormous talent as a jazz pianist, his innovative touch is captured in another trio setting here as he probes gently into the subtle awakening of the yesterday, today and tomorrow. 

Danilo calls on the voice of Lizz Wright to add a touch of jazz too Joni Mitchell’s Fiddle and the Drum. If you haven’t heard “Fiddle and the Drum” before you’ll probably find it dark in it’s voicing, structurally haunting, therefore taking you through a forbidden cloud of jazz and classic Mitchell dancing eloquently together as one. 

Vera Cruz opens with an intoxicating solo by saxophonists Donny McCaslin soon thereafter, a meeting takes place as Perez, Patitucci, Blade and Cruz tap into the vein of engaging foreplay by navigating in unison with fearless solos as they’re called to partake in this quest of brilliant interplay among giants. 

Till Then is somewhat of a departure from Danilo Perez’s previous recordings he doesn’t explore his usual Panamanian jazz tined fundamentals. Somehow, I believe there’s absolutely no reason to scrutinize his gallant effort. Legendary producer Tommy LiPuma has once again proved that his masterful touch is still in order by gathering this incredibly talented cast of players to score a taste of vintage Perez at the serving table! 

Recommended to and for jazz lovers everywhere!