Pianissimo: Luis Perdomo, Fred Hersch and Cedar Walton


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Luis Perdomo
RKM Music

Fred Hersch
Personal Favorites

Cedar Walton Trio/Dale Barlow
Manhattan After Hours

Do age and experience bring musicians a gradual appreciation of widening repertoire? This may seem a facile observation, but it's the youngsters who insist on playing their own stuff, while the elders grow more expansive about including music from their peers. What drives this tendency early on is not merely ego and testosterone, nor a sheer overabundance of raw talent, but the lack of broadened horizons that comes with experience and interrelationships.

Luis Perdomo, 36, is emerging as a jaguar among young lions of the keyboard: lithe, fierce, lightning fast, ever surprising. Exciting and vital compere of Ravi Coltrane (here producer not boss), Perdomo is reminiscent at times of Andrew Hill and Dave Burrell. Awareness, a twin-jet set of all fiery originals, lifts off with two distinct rhythm sections. Perdomo's 'regular' trio (Hans Glawischnig, bass; Eric McPherson, drums) weighs in, polished and suave, on all tracks. But Perdomo — writing his rich life's vignettes — sketches West Side characters in "Streetviews ; he adds free-spirit master bassist Henry Grimes and hot-blood drummer Nasheet Waits to propel these flashing cameos, as well as spare, harried "Song of the Forgotten and primal, exuberant "Tribal Dance . With such vibrant autobiographizing as this, no one needs to hear Perdomo pay direct tribute to his aesthetic forebears.

Fred Hersch, 52, compiling his own 'best of' from three genial, well-spread albums on Chesky on Personal Favorites, draws from what he dryly calls 'three musical food groups' of material: American Songbook standards, jazz repertoire and originals. Sly, supple versions evolve, as running water wears stones, through the pianist's repeated familiarizations in all categories. Thus Hersch gives the final bars of "Secret Love a charming (intimately folksy) rewrite; he induces Monk's logic via particles of melody to the general theme, 'played twice' — emphatically — only at the end; drummer Tom Rainey, bassist Drew Gress and he state the fleet, 'evanescent' theme in the glancing, butterfly manner of Bill Evans' own trio.

Cedar Walton, 73, a mainstay of bop piano since his Art Blakey and Jazztet days of the '60s, doesn't write a ton, but has penned ripe classics ("Ugetsu , "Bolivia ). Walton, bassist Dave Williams and drummer Billy Higgins made a core trio (sometimes called Eastern Rebellion) that buoyed tenor-men like George Coleman and Ralph Moore through the halcyon latter decades of post-bop. On Manhattan After Hours, Australian veteran Dale Barlow teams up with this august trio; over the past 20 years they've recorded at least once (Criss Cross). This 2000 date focuses on trimly swinging readings of Broadway and bop classics (Bird, Diz) plus two leisurely Barlow originals, a sweet samba "Euphoria (stated on soprano) and "Harpy , a down-but-not-so-dirty blues structure reminiscent of Horace Silver. Walton and classy mates keep it lean and clean, as the pianist opts mainly for single-note lines, intercut with octave tremolos and lock-hand shouts, the last often anticipated by Smiling Billy's trim ratamacues. Barlow weighs in fleet as Hank Mobley and punchy as Dexter Gordon and this pleasing date shows deft, not reverent, respect for beauties like "My Heart Stood Still , "Like Someone In Love , "Con Alma , and "Relaxin' At Camarillo .

Tracks and Personnel


Tracks: Street View: Biker; Nomads; Ishtar; Street View: Westside; E's Vibe; Polaris; Song of the Forgotten; Shake the Broom; Street View: Pow Wow; Timeline; Tribal Dance.

Personnel: Luis Perdomo: piano; Hans Galwischnig: bass; Eric McPherson: drums; Henry Grimes: bass (1,4,7,9,11); Nasheet Waits: drums (1,4,7,9,11).

Personal Favorites

Tracks: Secret Love; Played Twice; For All We Know; Child's Song; Evanessence; I Fall In Love Too Easily; Professor K.; Forward Motion; Nostalgia; Iris; Out Of Nowhere; If I Should Lose You.

Personnel: Fred Hersch: piano; Drew Gress: bass; Tom Rainey: drums.

Manhattan After Hours

Tracks: My heart stood still; Don't blame me; relaxin' at camarillo; Con alma; Darn that dream; Euphoria; I want to be happy; Harpy; Like someone in love.

Personnel: Cedar Walton: piano; Dave Williams: bass; Billy Higgins: drums; Dale Barlow: saxophone.


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