Recorded at The Power Station, New York on December 19 & 20, 1993.
All songs written by Danilo Perez.
Pianist Danilo Perez's second recording as a leader is a real gem. Divided into "Time Past" and "Time Present," Perez performs music utilizing Latin and Afro-Cuban rhythms, complex time signatures, original themes, the influence of bop, and his own very strong technique. The personnel and instrumentation changes from song to song, ranging from a septet with both George Garzone and David Sanchez on saxophones (along with two percussionists playing a wide variety of exotic instruments) to a conventional trio, a duet with drummer Ignacio Berroa, and a pair of solo piano pieces. Bassist Larry Grenadier plays very well, always sounding confident during the very tricky music, while Perez displays a highly original yet logical style. Well worth several listens.
All Music Guide
The notion of a fusion movement in jazz pre-supposes that you have all of these separate elements which need, somehow, to be welded together in an artificial manner, like putting the grill work of a Rolls Royce on the front end of a Volkswagen.
But for the gifted young pianist-composer Danilo Perez, the idea is not so much to fuse as to reconnect, to remember and acknowledge the vast variety of influences which make up the multi-cultural gumbo we call the Americas (meaning both North and South America). On THE JOURNEY, Perez's second outing as a leader for Novus, he seeks to blur the distinctions between musical styles, through his all-encompassing vision, and (by implication) to eradicate the distinctions between those people native to the Americas, and the Africans and Europeans who mixed with them to cast the alloy of multiculturalism. "An invitation to forget," Perez writes in his notes to "Libre Spiritus," a Bill Evansesque solo piano epilogue, "enabling us to forgive, and to develop the inner freedom that will grant us a universal language without words: music."
It's a bold vision for this 27-year old Panamanian musician to undertake, but Danilo Perez is wise beyond his years. Perez structures THE JOURNEY in the form of a suite, tracing the music from the mystery of "The Forest" through to "The Taking" and "Chains," in which a hint of the blues prefigures the menace and despair of "The Voyage." Perez's flexible piano stylings-richly voiced and rhythmically varied-form the link between the colorful percussive energy of master players like Milton Cardona, Giovanni Hidalgo and Kimati Dinizulu, the fluent rhythmic excitement of drummer Ignacio Berroa and the fervent lyricism of young saxophone stars David Sanchez and George Gazone. Ultimately the slaves' journey from Africa resolves into the "New Vision" of Perez's Afro-Cuban improvisations and the pan-cultural connections of "African Wave," a lyric journey that begins with hope and ends with a powerful new resolve.