The term Latin Jazz has been assimilated into the modern vocabulary to describe a certain genre of music, though they are two distinct words which can stand alone. Such is the case withNo Limits, by pianist Pedro Bermudez. He articulates each track with its own identity with music that does not fall into any one category. Adept at both the Latin and jazz idioms, this record showcases his talents as such.
Bermudez came up through the salsa school in Puerto Rico where he was pianist for several of the best bands on the island. But on No Limits he does not dwell only on his mastery of the piano montuno and percussive accompaniment; rather he composed and arranged all the songs to demonstrate his broad range of skills and those of his accompanying musicians. There are flashes of his mentor Hilton Ruiz, which are conjured up on some of his bop influenced solos and high flying runs, showing the talents this young pianist possesses.
Having formally studied Brazilian music, Bermudez weaves the samba feel into several selections such as "Redentor" and "Chorinho Para Maria," adds a frenetic pace to "Bombaiao," and brings in vocalist Ana Baiana on the Jobim classic "Caminos Cruzados." The band stretches out on the traditional Afro-Caribbean numbers "El Jarriero," which opens with a haunting bass tumbao, and "Ivan's Cha," featuring excellent sax work by Ivan Renta.
On this his first recording as leader, Bermudez has stepped up to the high standards which have been established by Latin pianists, and took it into his own direction. Each selection is well over five minutes which allows room for song development and there is no sense that the production was hurried, but well thought out and executed with passion and grace.
Track Listing: Yubá A Santurce; La Número Siete; El Jarriero; ALC; The Dreamer; Bombaiao; Redentor; Chorinho Para María; Iván's Cha; Caminhos Cruzados; Offbeat; No Limits; Long Walk.
Personnel: Pedro Bermudez: piano, Fender Rhodes; Eddie Gomez: acoustic bass (5, 10, 12); Ruben Rodriguez: bass (3, 4, 13); Duduka Da Fonseca: drums, percussion (6, 8); Ivan Renta: tenor & soprano saxophone (1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 11, 13); Nelson Jaime "Gazu": trumpet (1, 3, 4, 13); Richie Flores: congas (3, 7, 11); Vince Cherico: drums (3, 4, 13); Diego Lopez: drums ( 1, 2, 9); Christian Rivera: congas (2, 9); Carli Maldonado: timbal (9), congas (1, 4, 13); Efrain Martinez: drums (4, 7, 10, 11, 12); Gabriel Rodriguez: bass (7, 11); Felipe Salles: soprano saxophone (6, 7, 8); Mike Arroyo: acoustic and electric guitar (2, 8, 10); David "Piro" Rodriguez: trumpet (11); Ana Baiana: vocal (10); Oscar Stagnaro: electric bass (1, 2, 6, 8, 9).
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.