By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
A stylish and elegant pianist in any setting, Danilo Pérez possesses a musical ear that's pure gold. As such, he tops the list when the finest players in Latin jazz need someone to tickle the ivories. This includes the host for his Miami dates, Arturo Sandoval. Along with the celebrated saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera and percussion maestro Giovanni Hidalgo, Sandoval and Pérez recorded the ambitious Pan-American jazz semi-epic Reunion in 1991. Fifteen years later, inspired by his experience in saxophonist Wayne Shorter's quartet, Pérez recorded a watershed album: the Danilo Pérez Trio's Live at the Jazz Showcase.
Pérez is now quite clearly willing to part with the standard structures of modern jazz and, by association, Latin jazz. He has loosened his tie and unbuttoned his collar, and everything from his playing to his arrangements and song structures have opened up. Live at the Jazz Showcase reveals a group no longer willing to repeat the obvious. The marriage of Latin rhythms and jazz improvisation is still there. It simply winds its way through crooked back roads rather than marching in fours and eights down the paved main street.
That magnificently calibrated ear of his does much more now than facilitate the adventures of other musicians. With drummer Adam Cruz and bassist Ben Street, Danilo Pérez leads listeners into satisfying explorations of the outer edges of his musical territory.