422

Danilo Perez: Across the Crystal Sea

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
Danilo Perez: Across the Crystal Sea At its most basic, Crystal Sea features pianist Danilo Perez leading a quartet with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Lewis Nash, supported by percussionist Luis Quintero. Cassandra Wilson radiates vocals through two standards, "Lazy Afternoon" and "(All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings." Beyond these two standards, Claus Ogerman, who arranged and conducted the orchestra, contributes the melancholic closer ("Another Autumn") plus, according to his arranger's notes, five other pieces "based on classical themes I've known all my life and have always wanted to adapt and record" by Sibelius, Rachmaninoff, Massenet, Manuel de Falla, and Hugo Distler.

But you almost never have Crystal Sea at its most basic. As a consequence, it offers little jazz piano. Perez's quartet is the primary color, but only one color in Ogerman's expansive orchestral palette. Perez sits out long passages in several tunes, and is almost conspicuously absent while Wilson sings. As a result, Crystal Sea sounds more like an Ogerman orchestral album with piano than it does a Perez piano album with orchestra.

Each song captures moments of precious beauty. But most also lack that fire or passion with which most great music burns. For example, Ogerman moves "Lazy Afternoon" so lugubriously that the rhythmic stillness begins to feel as stifling and oppressive as one hundred degrees in the shade heat.

The best moments on Crystal Sea create Jobim-like tapestries woven soft and whole into Afro-Cuban, pop, jazz, and classical cloth. Perez first flies through "The Purple Condor," his piano twinkling like a little Latin leprechaun, then digs into more serious chords at both ends of his piano. In "The Saga of Rita Joe," percussion gets washed away by strings that swirl and tower like a tornado to set the pianist's dramatic opening piano scene. Like Ogerman's complementary arrangement, Perez's piano sounds dark and mysterious, yet somehow floats lightly through this "Saga's" many movements.

"When it came to working with Claus, it was another kind of adventure where I was called upon to touch the lyrical side of my playing," Perez explains. "Claus is a master of colors. As the musical director, he provided me with both a story and a landscape, and then told me, 'I want you to paint.'" But it's hard to determine if they painted their Crystal Sea in watercolor, or in watered-down color.


Track Listing: Across the Crystal Sea; Rays and Shadows; Lazy Afternoon; The Purple Condor; If I Forget You; (All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings; The Saga of Rita Joe; Another Autumn.

Personnel: Danilo Perez: piano; Cassandra Wilson: vocals; Christian McBride: bass; Lewis Nash: drums; Luis Quintero: percussion; Bruce Dukov: concert master; Claus Ogerman: orchestral arrangements and conductor.

Title: Across the Crystal Sea | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Decca Music Group


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Hope CD/LP/Track Review Hope
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 21, 2017
Read Day After Day CD/LP/Track Review Day After Day
by John Eyles
Published: July 21, 2017
Read We Know Not What We Do CD/LP/Track Review We Know Not What We Do
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 21, 2017
Read Slade Alive! CD/LP/Track Review Slade Alive!
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 21, 2017
Read The Better Angels of Our Nature CD/LP/Track Review The Better Angels of Our Nature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 20, 2017
Read What Brought You Here? CD/LP/Track Review What Brought You Here?
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "Opening Statement" CD/LP/Track Review Opening Statement
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "Burning Ghosts" CD/LP/Track Review Burning Ghosts
by Troy Collins
Published: July 21, 2016
Read "Lovers" CD/LP/Track Review Lovers
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "Unit[e]" CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "June" CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Eight Track II" CD/LP/Track Review Eight Track II
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 1, 2016

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!