Luis Perdomo: Focus Point (2005)
How to describe an artist whose interests range from the puckish, almost Michael Brecker-ish theme of "You Know I Know"featuring drummer Ralph Peterson Jr., who has only recently come to things Afro-Cuban with his own Fo'Tet Augmented , but manages to imbue it with his own inimitable and unrestrained sense of swingto the ECM-like introversion of "Procession," featuring a haunting arco theme from bassist Carlo DeRosa? The fact is that Perdomo, while clearly coming from the same wellspring that most young pianists doCorea, Evans, Jarrett, Hancock and Tyneris already in possession of a blended style that references all these sources and yet has a stylistic élan all its own.
Perdomo is capable of intense and expressionistic lyricism on "Dreams," a duet with tenor saxophonist Max King; free association on the solo pieces "Fragments," "Impromptu" and "Spirit Song - Part 1"; more overt Latin musings on the samba-based "San Millan"; and a looser improvisational approach on "Book of Life," with its elliptical theme and more abstractly exploratory solo section. He combines an intuitive improvisational sensibility with a compositional approach that ranges from rough sketch to complex arrangement.
The album places Perdomo in a variety of ensemble contexts, from "Book of Life," sporting a quintet featuring the powerful saxophone frontline of Miguel Zenon and executive producer Ravi Coltrane, to quartet pieces like "Spirit Song," trio excursions including "Procession," and the aforementioned duet and solo tracks. With a shifting lineup whose only constant is Peterson, the album is sequenced in such a way as to give it an evocative narrative arc.
It's too early to tell exactly what kind of impact Perdomo will have. Circumstances beyond his control may or may not scuttle his ability to gain broader recognition. But if talent alone is to be the determining factorand Perdomo is not only one of the more refreshingly innovative pianists to emerge in recent years, but a fine composer who succeeds in centering his divergent musical tastes into a clear conceptionthen Focus Point will surely be considered an important event that will ultimately be looked upon as the start of a significant career.
Track Listing: You Know I Know; Fragments; Book of Life; Procession; San Millan; The Stranger; Spirit Song -- Part 1; Spirit Song -- Part 2; Dreams; Breakdown; Impromptu
Personnel: Luis Perdomo (piano), Ugonna Okegwo (bass), Ralph Peterson Jr. (drums), Roberto Quintero (batas, Afro Venezuelan percussion), Carlo DeRosa (bass), Miriam Sullivan (bass), Miguel Zenon (alto saxophone), Ravi Coltrane (tenor and soprano saxophones), Max King (tenor saxophone)
Record Label: RKM Music
Style: Modern Jazz