Danilo Perez’s highly anticipated debut for Mack Avenue Records is absolutely stunning.Providenciacrosses streams of jazz, classical and Latin American folk music on 11 great compositions that spark the listener to connect with the creativity and social power of Perez’s musical conscience. In addition to his core trio-mates bassist Ben Street and drummer Adam Cruz, the award-winning pianist/composer is accompanied by such respected musicians as saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, percussionist Jamey Haddad, conguero Ernesto Diaz, vocalist Sara Serpa and a Boston-based woodwind quintet.
The set opens with “Daniela’s Chronicles,” which pays homage to Perez’s young daughter. The beauty and love inherent in this piece is deeply moving and suggests Perez’s commitment to musically depict her personality. By contrast, “Galactic Panama” is teeming with excitement as Mahanthappa’s intense saxophonics and Perez’s percussive pianism alongside Street and Cruz’s rhythmic forms gleaned from the tamborito (Panama’s national dance) incite you to submerge yourself into the dynamic feelings of this great song.
Perez continues his tribute to his homeland and the concept of global jazz by including a two-part chamber piece for woodwind quintet titled “Bridge of Life” and two tragic love compositions by Panamanian composers Carlo Eleta Almaran (“Historia de un Amor”) and Avelino Munoz’s lovely ballad (“Irremediablemente Solo”). A two-part composition titled “The Maze” concludes the set.
The duet between Perez and Mahanthappa features their muscular and jagged playing on “The Maze: The Beginning” and their tender and reflect feelings on “The Maze: The End.” It’s been a long time coming butProvidenciais definitely worth the wait.