The Danilo Pérez Trio recorded Live at the Jazz Showcase
in December 2003, ensconcing the trio in the longstanding history of this Chicago club.
Pérez leads drummer Adam Cruz and bassist Ben Street from the piano as they interpret a repertoire covering mostly original material, although there are hard bop renditions of material by Rubén Blades, Monk, Silvio Rodriguez, and Stevie Wonder. The latter, however, are transmogrified as well as vested with the greatest amount of interpretative time. "Paula C is a good example. Pérez extrapolates from the core of the melodic head of this salsa hit after taking a solo intro. Cruz and Street ease on their own, interlacing themselves with the leader into a dense, flowing hypersonic entity featuring a free, yet tight cosmopolitan sense of rhythm within its vivacious jazzy expressiveness. Pérez's swift right hand gets unabashed free-ranging peckings here, particularly near, during, and after the more aggressive midpoint transition. By then, however, one has already left the music of his fellow Panamanian.
Imaginative, rhythmically complex displacement and harmonically challenging and occasional humorous thinking and phrasing are par for the entire course of the recording. As strong as all the reinterpretations are, the original material produced by the trio is of equal or greater interest. "Epilogo is the most extended of these pieces. Pérez wrote it and serves as its centerpiece. The brisk and powerful interpretation closes with a montuno piano figure for Cruz to solo, joined by Street, the coda featuring a scorching fade of Pérez soloing. It begins, however, with the weighty-sounding Street marching it up with Cruz before the piano is peppered with superior touch and technique.
Pérez's intro to Street's "Furrows has a classical dirge quality that becomes nostalgically pensive as he's joined by the rest of the trio. It closes with a dissolving whiff of Pérez. Its pacing and spacing are welcomed as the musicians and their music are shown in a different light.
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