Panama 500 embraces the Panamian historical relevance of cultural combined with an amazing harmonic vision that forms a stunning hybrid of improvisational music from the west with the amazing discipline of the European classical form.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Panama 500 is music that transcends what most would consider traditional Latin American music yet the vision of Danilo Pérez allows for a most intriguing marriage of cultures from several continents while never losing the lyrical sense of purpose that permeates this remarkable release. A most ambitious recording find Pérez looking to place the Pan-American musical tradition in the most relevant of places while successfully transcending global music boundaries. A musical rediscovery steeped in time, tradition and the transcending vision of perhaps the finest global thinking pianist working today.
Essentially we have a rhythmic core of two incredibly diverse trios that manage to somehow find their way within an incredibly rich world music flow that encapsulates deceptively subtle nuances and dynamic harmonic shading that come from a rich sonic color palette that is indeed the wheelhouse for Pérez . To bring Panama 500 down into bits of colorful mosaic like texture is too lose the incredibly well thought out meticulous ebb and flow. The musical co-conspirators here include such notables as Brian Blade, John Patitucci and the drumming phenom that is long time Pérez associate in Adam Street.
There is a slight conceptual adaptation to this work as it was originally "intended" as a piece for an imaginary film that chronicled the past and present of Panama. Despite the surgical like precision that is utilized throughout this most auspicious work, there is a raw almost organic sense of free will if not free improvisation that runs through the release. The instrumental work of Perez is most intriguing as pieces are embraced and then subsequently attacked while never losing sight of the collective presentation that is also synonymous with the Danilo Pérez wheelhouse.
Panama 500 is that rare multi-cultural bridge that moves well past geographic boundaries and instead pushed and marries the cultural boundaries of a variety of people into a uniformity made up of authenticity, flair and panache.
An incredible work!
Personnel: Danilo Pérez : Piano, Cowbell; John Patitucci: Electric Bass (2), Acoustic Bass (3,4,9); Brian Blade: Drums (2,4,9); Ben Street: Acoustic Bass (1,5,8,11); Adam Cruz; Drums (1,5,8,11); Alex Hargreaves: Violin (1,2,8); Sachi Patitucci: Cello (3); Roman Diaz: Percussion, Chant (1); Rogerio Boccato: Percussion (2, 3, 8).
Panama Personnel: Milagros Blades: Replicador (1,7); Caja, Pujador (7); Ricaurte Villarreal: Cja, Guiro (1).
Tracks: Rediscovery Of The South Sea; Panama 500; Reflections On The South Sea; Abia Yala; Gratitude; The Canal Suite, Land Of Hope; The Canal Suite, Premonition In Rhythm; The Canal Suite, Melting Pot; The Expedition; Narration To Reflections On The South Sea; Panama Viejo; Celebration of Our Land.