Danilo Perez Trio | Jazz Showcase | Jazz | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Thu., April 21, 8 & 10 p.m., Fri., April 22, 8 & 10 p.m., Sat., April 23, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., April 24, 4, 8 & 10 p.m. 2011
Price: $30
For nearly two decades Panamanian pianist Danilo Perez has been one of the most exciting keyboardists in jazz. His sharp musical intelligence allows him to connect disparate traditions by sussing out their commonalities—rarely more thrillingly than when he located the Latin American rhythms in the music of Thelonious Monk on 1996's Panamonk. Over the past decade, however, his best recordings have been with the Wayne Shorter Quartet; for his occasional solo albums, he's tended to work on huge canvases, often smothering the music with his ambitions. That's certainly the case with last year's Providencia, which is larded with epic, multipartite compositions and overdone arrangements. Perez is best when he stays focused, like he does on "Galactic Panama," a trio cut with guest saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa—its fiery volatility complements the embroidery of feverish Panamanian rhythms onto a jazz cloth. On "Bridge of Life," by contrast, an interruption by classical chamber instruments (flute, oboe, bassoon, French horn, clarinet) saps the music's vitality; other pieces pack in so many ideas that they start to meander. Luckily, for this engagement Perez is playing in his long-running trio with bassist Ben Street and drummer Adam Cruz, the context where his complex ideas come across most clearly—his astonishing virtuosity, rhythmic mastery, and improvisational spark don't need elaborate arrangements or guest musicians to take flight. See also Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. —Peter Margasak

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