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In 1993, a twenty-two year old pianist named Luis Perdomo left Venezuela and arrived in New York City, eager to further his education and pursue his musical dreams. Now, twenty-two years later, Perdomo can certainly look back with a sense of accomplishment, having made a significant impact on the scene through his leader dates and important sideman contributions with tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon, and numerous others.
The music on Twenty-Two was inspired by that pivotal move in '93, but Perdomo doesn't look back with rose-colored glasses or allow nostalgia to hamper musical progress. Yes, there are moments of reflection and the occasional strains of romanticism to be found here; and no, this certainly isn't the thorniest or most progressive date under the pianist's name. But Perdomo can't really be accused of being too sentimental here. He looks at the edgier side of things in painting the visage of The Big Apple in '93 on "Old City," he delivers unsettled and unsettling sounds in "Two Sides Of A Goodbye," and he absolutely cooks on "Cota Mil." He also knows how to simply cut loose and have a good time, demonstrated during the funky and fiery "Looking Through You" and the fugal-turned-grooving "Brand New Grays."
While Twenty-Two is really Perdomo's story to tell, he's certainly not the only narrator in the mix. Through this music, he introduces Controlling Ear Unita trio featuring the earthy Mimi Jones on bass and the ubiquitous Rudy Royston on drums. Each musician plays a different part in these performances. Jones, for the most part, is responsible for bringing a sense of grounding and focus to the music, be it through melodically direct soloing or rhythmic buttressing; Royston brings a fluid sense of percussive flow to this narrative, whether playing with fire or finesse; and Perdomo is the eloquent author, masterfully laying out his stories for all to admire. Together, all three players manage to bring Perdomo's vivid narratives to life.
Track Listing: Love Tone Poem; Old City; Weilheim; A Different Side Of Reality; Two Sides Of A Goodbye; Light Slips In; Looking Through You; How Deep Is Your Love; Aaychdee; Cota Mil; Brand New Grays; Days Gone Days Ahead.
Personnel: Luis Perdomo: piano, electric piano (4, 6, 7, 10, 12); Mimi Jones: bass, vocals (9); Rudy Royston: drums.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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