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Album Review

Pianist Luis Perdomo's follow-up to 2005's critically acclaimed Focus Point takes leaps unimagined even on that considerably challenging, ambitious debut. Or roughly half of it does, anyway. On five of Awareness' 11 tracks, Perdomo works not only with bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Eric McPherson, his partners throughout the entire album, but with a second rhythm section, bassist Henry Grimes and drummer Nasheet Waits. Not surprisingly, the upped ante makes for some complex and tricky shifts in rhythmic and melodic direction. The double trio format never quite gets out of control — there is no clash or clutter, even when all five players are firing all of their rockets — although it's never quite clear which bassist and drummer is doing what. But ultimately, what those intense five tracks — three of which comprise part of a "Street View" subset that peppers the song list — end up proving is that Perdomo doesn't need the additional muscle. The tracks that feature the basic trio are never short on constant invention, and they provide not only a clearer picture of who Perdomo his, but what Glawischnig and McPherson are capable of. Single-trio tracks such as "Polaris" and "'Nomads" give Perdomo ample room to further his reputation as one of the sharpest Latin-inspired (but not dogmatically Latin) pianists in contemporary jazz, and one of the most generous, allowing his support team to explore and lead the way within each piece. The double-trio music takes on a more frantic, demanding tone, and while there's no denying the level of creativity at work within those jams, the musicality and lyricism suffer, only to return when the extra players are gone.


Born: 19 February 1971 in Caracas, Venezuela

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Based in New York City but originally from Venezuela, Luis Perdomo is an acoustic post-bop pianist whose playing has been directly or indirectly influenced by Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock, among others. Although Perdomo comes from a Latin American country, his compositions aren't the type of straight-up Afro-Cuban jazz one associates with Tito Puente, Cal Tjader, Machito or Poncho Sanchez; nonetheless, there are subtle hints of Latin and Caribbean music in...
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Awareness, Luis Perdomo
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