426

Danilo Perez: Across The Crystal Sea

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
Danilo Perez: Across The Crystal Sea During the course of their collaboration on Across the Crystal Sea, pianist Danilo Perez and arranger Claus German defy convention as much as they utilize it to their own ends. Like the colors in the cover painting at first seem like pastels, but upon close inspection reveal deeper tones, the contrast of the orchestration with a jazz ensemble led by the veteran pianist is symbiotic yet rife with surprise.

To merely describe this album as a trio plus strings will no doubt generate more than a little trepidation, even when mentioning the themes upon which the compositions are based come from classical composers. The fact is the two units involved on the project, though recorded separately, unite as one in the Tommy LiPuma-produced (and Al Schmitt-engineered) CD.

The appearance of vocalist Cassandra Wilson on two tracks, while not truly the highlight of the album, is fully integrated into the mood as well. Defining "(All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings" as a middle- of-the-road treacle is a simplistic interpretation of the concept this album might suggest, but a sensual quality eventually arises from the performance. "Lazy Afternoon" finds Wilson's voice likewise utilized as an instrument, so that it's notable the only clearly enunciated lyric she sings is the title phrase; elsewhere the rich presence of her voice appears to arise from the listener's heart, then goes into the head.

The perfectly languorous mood created in that cut is the first gentle crescendo that appears on the disc. Perez, currently a stalwart of Wayne Shorter's group and the trio including Lewis Nash on drums and Christian McBride on bass, play with perfect poise around which Ogerman's string arrangements wave and waft in similar slow motion. There's more than one echo of Jobim on the title song. Not because of the presence of percussionist Luis Quintero, but because the orchestration sways tenderly, in synchronous time with the small combo.

The sparse precise sound of piano, bass and drums is a perfect counterpoint and complement to the orchestra on pieces inspired by Massenet ("The Saga of Rita Joe"), Rachmaninoff ("If I Forget You") and Sibelius ("Rays and Shadows"). The noir atmosphere of a jazz club near closing time, intermingles with a tropical air as lush waves of strings thin and thicken in reciprocal rhythm.

There's little sense of any tension building whatsoever during the course of the eight tracks until "Another Autumn" seems to float to a close...only to reappear in a bright denouement that is the antithesis of the melancholy, usually associated with the fall season in all its metaphorical meaning. Thus, Across the Crystal Sea becomes both circular and cyclical, a rather remarkable piece of work created by two artists with their own distinct musical visions who find those traits they share to formulate a concept that is wholly unique on its own terms.


Track Listing: 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: Personnel: Danilo Perez: piano; Cassandra Wilson: vocals (3, 6); Christian McBride: bass; Lewis Nash: drums; Luis Quintero: percussion; Claus Ogerman: conductor, orchestra arranger.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: EmArcy | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "A Curious Feeling" CD/LP/Track Review A Curious Feeling
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 16, 2016
Read "Handel:  Complete Harpsichord Music" CD/LP/Track Review Handel: Complete Harpsichord Music
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 2, 2016
Read "Down Memory Lane 2 / Down Memory Lane Vol. 3, The Power Package" CD/LP/Track Review Down Memory Lane 2 / Down Memory Lane Vol. 3, The Power Package
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 27, 2016
Read "Blooming Tall Phlox" CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "Wild About You" CD/LP/Track Review Wild About You
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 2, 2016
Read "Awakening" CD/LP/Track Review Awakening
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 5, 2017

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!