Danilo Pérez

...Till Then

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With Till Then, Danilo Perez pays tribute to popular composers he feels have made a difference in the world. Though the Panamanian pianist offers a few original compositions, the work of other composers -- well-known, consequential people -- is the main focus of this Tommy LiPuma-produced CD. Some of the more myopic people in the jazz world will automatically assume that if Perez is using jazz to salute popular composers, he must be thinking of Tin Pan Alley. But in fact, there are no Tin Pan Alley standards on Till Then -- no George Gershwin, no Irving Berlin, no Cole Porter, no Harry Warren. And that's just as well because as dynamic as those legends were, worthwhile popular music didn't end with Tin Pan Alley (contrary to what the Stanley Crouch/Wynton Marsalis crowd would have listeners believe). Perez, thankfully, is smart enough to realize that -- and on Till Then, he finds the acoustic post-bop possibilities in melodies by Stevie Wonder ("Overjoyed") and Joni Mitchell ("Fiddle and the Drum") as well as several Latin American legends, who range from salsa innovator Rubén Blades ("Paula C") to Brazilian star Milton Nascimento ("Vera Cruz"). Perez has long had a pan-Latin outlook -- in other words, he looks to different parts of the Latin world for musical inspiration -- and Till Then reflects that. Anyone who interprets Chico Buarque's "Trocando Em Miúdos" (another great Brazilian melody), Cuban artist Silvio Rodríguez' "Rabo de Nube," and Chilean singer Violeta Parra's "Gracias a la Vida" on the same CD obviously isn't limiting himself to any one particular area of the Latin spectrum. While Till Then is far-reaching and unpredictable, it's also focused and cohesive; clearly, Perez knows exactly what he's doing on this inspired addition to his catalog.

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