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.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Decca Music Group | Style: Classical


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Inner Circle" CD/LP/Track Review Inner Circle
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 30, 2016
Read "Collage" CD/LP/Track Review Collage
by James Nadal
Published: March 2, 2016
Read "The Last Remaining Payphone in L.A." CD/LP/Track Review The Last Remaining Payphone in L.A.
by Paul Naser
Published: October 18, 2016
Read "Early Americans" CD/LP/Track Review Early Americans
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 29, 2016
Read "The Ray Davies Songbook" CD/LP/Track Review The Ray Davies Songbook
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 2, 2016
Read "What was said" CD/LP/Track Review What was said
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!