Pérez/Patitucci/Blade ‘Children of the Light’ (Mack Avenue) 4/5

pérez-patitucci-bladeBetter known as the rhythm section that has accompanied Wayne Shorter for a good part of the last decade, this trio operate in their own right and this latest offering demonstrates why. The music is dense, angular with a profound urgency and this is a marked departure from your standard piano trio. If anything the music harks back to the mid-1960s and the trio that backed Miles Davis that would later in the 1970s reform and record in trio and quartet/quintet formats. A staccato rhythm on ‘Sunborn and mosquito’ hints at Andrew Hill in the phrasing while the repetitive riff on the New Orleans flavoured ‘Moonlight on Congo Square’ sounds like an update on Monk. Pianist Danilo Pérez has soaked up all these influences and more, since on the 1970s flavoured ‘Lunem’, he performs on electric piano in precisely the manner that Chick Corea did on those epic Return to Forever recordings and, in parts, the ‘In a silent way’ period of Joe Zawinul with Miles is similarly evoked here. A medley of ‘Light Echo’ with Wayne Shorter’s ‘Dolores’ allows the trio to flow more organically and really stretch out and at almost ten minutes in length is by some distance the longest piece. The famous piano riff is repeated, but with a different time signature and the trio, here and throughout the album, experiment with varying tempi. In general, this is chamber jazz music a notch or two about the norm and with disparate music influences from African-American and Latin to classical and rock all weaved in. They cooked up a storm at Ronnie Scott’s in 2014 and do likewise in the studio here.

Tim Stenhouse