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Luis Perdomo: The Infancia Project

Mark F. Turner By

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Pianist Luis Perdomo's presence is marked by attributes that include lyricism, depth and adaptability. The onetime member of saxophonist Ravi Coltrane's quartet has worked on many releases for artists like trombonist Steve Turre and saxophonist Miguel Zenon. His visibility is coming more into focus with The Infancia Project, which the New York-based pianist avoided making for many years over concerns of being typecast as "just another" Latin jazz musician.

While the project's flavor is influenced by the rich ethnic sounds of Perdomo's upbringing in Caracus, Venezuela, it identifies both the pianist's past and present, one that is deep-rooted yet equally progressive, as witnessed on 2012's A Universal Mind, which featured drum great Jack DeJohnette, and 2006's dual-rhythm section Awareness, both on Coltrane's RKM label.

The set benefits from both the pianist's fine playing and his carefully chosen session players, starting with the first bars of the"The Other Left," its complex clave rhythms provided by percussionist Mauricio Herrera and drummer Ignacio Berroa. Bassist Andy Gonzalez introduces saxophonist Ornette Coleman's "Happy House," here transformed into an alluring groove-dance, while edgy trade-offs between Perdomo and Mark Shim's exceptional deep toned saxophone on trumpeter Miles Davis' "Solar" demonstrate the fire and verve that elevates the entire set beyond any typecast recording.

Perdomo explores diverse moods and shapes, from the pulsating interpretation of pianist Bud Powell's "Un Poco Loco" to the tranquil trio take of J.A. Espino's "Comedia." There are fireworks, yet also frosty grooves ("Berimvela," "Mind Time") that feature Perdomo on Fender Rhodes, his lithesome keying, Shim's throaty voicing, and the rhythm section's infectious grooves providing a low-temperature heat.

DeJohnette's "closing Major General" demands an encore from this group. It's a breathtaking whirlwind, featuring a rousing drum solo from Berroa. The timing forThe Infancia Project is right, yet long overdue; here's hoping Perdomo records again with this excellent ensemble.

Track Listing: The Other Left; Berimvela; Solar; Happy House; Comedia; Un Poco Loco; Meggido Girl; Mind And Time; Major General.

Personnel: Luis Perdomo: piano, Fender Rhodes; Mark Shim: tenor saxophone; Andy Gonzalez: bass; Ignacio Berroa: drums; Mauricio Herrera: percussion.

Title: The Infancia Project | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Criss Cross

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