Motherland is Danilo Perez's most conceptually ambitious project to date, throwing today's definition of "jazz" even further up for grabs. With the support of a large cast of guest musicians, Perez embarks on a celebration of his native Panama. More a world music album than a jazz album, Motherland features Latin rhythms and instruments, African response chants, and plenty of the kind of wordless vocals heard on Perez's earlier pieces "September In Rio" (from Panamonk ) and "Impromptu" (from Central Avenue ). The focus is on melody and arrangements, not improvisation, although there are occasional solo flights by Perez, violinist Regina Carter, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, and saxophonist Chris Potter. Claudia Acuna sings a beautiful Spanish lyric on "Song to the Land" and Richard Bona is a delight on "Pan Africa" and the beautiful ballad "Prayer."
Acoustic jazz purists might find the record a bit overproduced and overblown. But Perez gave us a healthy dose of straight-ahead playing on Roy Haynes' recent trio record (also on Verve). Here, as on his previous solo records, he's going for something quite different. What he's come up with is not without its flaws, but it's his boldest attempt yet to bridge his jazz and Latin worlds. In time it may be thought of as one of the boldest, most genuine Latin jazz albums ever.
1. Intro, 2. Suite For The Americas, Part 1, 3. Elegant Dance, 4. Pan Africa, 5. Baile, 6. Song To The Land, 7. Suite For The Americas, Part 2, 8. Prayer, 9. Overture, 10. Rio To Panama, 11. Panama Libre, 12. Panama 2000, 13. And Then...
D. Perez - Piano, Regina Carter - violin, Chris Potter - sax, , Diego Urcola - trumpet, Kurt Rosenwinkel - electric guitar, Carlos Henriquez - acoustic bass (2,6,7) John Patitucci - acoustic bass, Brian Blade - drums, Antonio Sanchez - drums, Richard Bona - lead vocal and electric bass, Luciana Souza - vocals, Claudia Acuna - vocals, Greg Askew - bata itotele and response chant, Aquiles Baez - cuatro, acoustic guitar, Louis Bauzo - bata iya and lead chant, Richard Byrd - bata konkolo and response chant, Luisito Quintero - congas, Ricaurte Villarreal - tambor repicador.