From the very first notes, pianist Luis Perdomo's Awareness demands attention because of its enormous energy: this record simply will not fade into the aural background.
As shown by his debut release, Focus Point, Perdomo is a very thoughtful and intense musician who refuses to be pigeonholed in any single genre among the styles that comprise the sum of his influences. He calls himself a jazz musician first and a Latin musician second, and this release makes the point even more strongly than the previous one.
Focus Point was a very good record, but Awareness represents a serious amount of growth. Perdomo was never tied to the bar line or metrical group, but now he's free from the confines of rhythm, meter, harmony and phrasing. He uses these building blocks to make his music, rather than being used by them, and one can hear decisions being made in a split second.
Awareness is structured as two intertwined records. The trio of Perdomo, bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Eric McPherson plays on six of the eleven tracks, while on the rest, the trio becomes a quintet with the addition of a second bassist, Henry Grimes and a second drummer, Nasheet Waits.
The trio tracks (2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10) are all very fine and have the intense energy that one would expect from a tight, Perdomo-led trio, residing on the more accessible side of mainstream without being predictable. The pianist's lines twist and turn, powered by notes played with a direct clarity that pulls the listener along for the ride. A release consisting of these kinds of tracks alone would make an outstanding record.
The quintet tracks make up the rest of the recording, but importantly, they begin and end the setand they're quite different animals. This "double trio" creates an amazingly dense sound, as one would expect, but it nevertheless clearly shows that everyone is listening to the entire ensemble. Bursting with energy and bordering on the free, these tracks push the record to an entirely different level. The fact that "Street View: Biker" and "Tribal Dance" begin and end the disc signal to me that this kind of music, if not this particular instrumentation, is where Perdomo is headed.
Track Listing: Street View: Biker; Nomads; Ishtar; Street View: Westside; E's Vibe; Polaris; Song of the Forgotten; Shake the Broom; Street View: Pow Wow; Timeline; Tribal Dance.
Personnel: Luis Perdomo: piano; Hans Galwischnig: bass; Eric McPherson: drums; Henry Grimes: bass (1,4,7,9,11); Nasheet Waits: drums (1,4,7,9,11).