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Across the Crystal Sea

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Editors’ Notes

The Panamanian-born pianist Danilo Perez has been a force in jazz since the 1990s. He’s played with Wayne Shorter, Wynton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie, and others, and has released a number of albums as a leader. On this 2008 album, he teams up with the well-known composer and arranger Claus Ogerman for an incredibly lush set inspired by Bill Evans Trio with Symphony Orchestra, an Ogerman project from the 1960s. Across the Crystal Sea is an exquisite work. The balance between the jazz quartet — Perez, bassist Christian McBride, drummer Lewis Nash, and percussionist Luis Quintero — and the orchestra is just right, and the overall sound is great. (Veteran Tommy LiPuma produced.) Several pieces are based on themes by classical composers such as Manuel de Falla, Jean Sibelius, and Sergei Rachmaninoff. The standout title track, based on a work by the German composer Hugo Distler, sports crackling percussion that lends Ogerman’s arrangement a nice edge. Vocalist Cassandra Wilson appears on two cuts and she’s absolutely stunning. On “(All of a sudden) My Heart Sings,” she floats on the music like a dream, and “Lazy Afternoon” combines eerie strings with Wilson’s vocals to create a sense of mystery that borders on the otherworldly.

Customer Reviews

Claus is amazing!

As far as I'm concerned; Claus can do no wrong. This project is worth the price even if only for his treatment of Lazy Afternoon; gorgeous! I'm not a big Danilo fan, but Claus makes it more than worthwhile. And to the previous 'reviewer' who complained that there was nothing 'catchy' about this CD: This isn't pop music or even smooth jazz. This is the real deal; it's not supposed to be 'catchy'. If you want 'catchy', go listen to a Britney recording.

Across The Crystal Sea

Not a true jazz CD but engaging thanks to Claus's arrangements. Someone needs to contact Verve and release the 1963 album "Warm Wave" by Cal Tjader with arrangements by Claus Ogerman. Beautiful renditions of standard tunes with melodic, romantic playing by Cal. A crossover album of its time that stands up extremely well after 45 years, you can't listen to it and not feel your body relaxing under its spell.

Ogerman's Genius

Perhaps like watching a movie and finding that the co-star is the real highlight of the plot, Ogerman's genius makes this album soar. If one manages to see this all as fluff they, sadly, have missed the complexity of the orchestrations and the subtlety that is exhibited here. If you have not sought out and purchased Ogerman's "Gate of Dreams" then you have taken Ogerman 102 without having taken the pre-requisite 101 for then you would know that Ogerman has embellished many a good talent, such as George Benson (in the aforementioned Gate of Dreams) and as of late Ms. Krall. So do not be misled, the supporting role here is the very gem you may have been looking for if you like complex orchestrations and lush strings, always an Orgerman signature. Best, IMHO, is the Rachmaninoff inspired "If I Forget You" and "The Saga of Rita Joe." As for the vocals...they are good but do not fit the composition of the disc. It's like putting Nancy Wilson in the middle of a complete Brubeck Quartet disc...great talents but deserving a whole effort.


Born: December 29, 1966 in Panama

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Pianist and composer Danilo Pérez has forged a wide path for himself and his music throughout his career to date. Born in 1966 in Panama, Pérez, who relocated to New York City, began playing piano at age three. His father was a bandleader and vocalist, and by the time he was ten, he was studying at the National Conservatory in Panama. After college in Panama, where he studied electronics, Pérez moved to the U.S. to study at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He later transferred to the Berklee College...
Full Bio
Across the Crystal Sea, Danilo Perez
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