Pianist/Composer Luis Perdomo Releases New CD "Universal Mind" from RKM Music on February 14th, 2012


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Universal Mind is the perfect title for the newest release from Luis Perdomo. The three-way connection between the extraordinary jazz pianist and composer and his world-class collaborators, bassist Drew Gress and the legendary Jack DeJohnette on drums, is apparent from the first moments of this exhilarating new release from RKM Records. The Village Voice called Perdomo “a rather amazing improviser" and added, “The pianist is making a name for himself by feverishly assaulting the progressive edge of mainstream jazz." With Universal Mind that assault has now been fully executed.

Perdomo's fourth album as a leader, Universal Mind—for which Perdomo wrote or co-wrote eight of the 11 tunes—runs the gamut from the propulsive arrangement of Joe Henderson's “Tetragon" that opens the set through the ethereal two-parter “Unified Path I" and “Unified Path II"—duets co-penned by Perdomo and DeJohnette—to Perdomo's moody “Above the Storm" and the exquisite ballad “Dance of the Elephants," written by Miriam Sullivan, Perdomo's bassist wife. Throughout the disc, the trio locks into a groove that displays chemistry rare even among virtuosos such as these.

For Perdomo, Universal Mind is the culmination of all that he's worked to achieve since his arrival in New York from his native Venezuela nearly two decades ago. Although he has long been an in-demand sideman by the likes of fellow cutting-edge jazz musicians like Ravi Coltrane and Miguel Zenón, Perdomo truly comes into his own as a leader on Universal Mind. “A lot of people have been asking me lately about me having my own projects," Perdomo told JazzTimes magazine. “It just feels right."

For Universal Mind, the trio often throws caution to the wind and allows their improvisational skills to guide them. At the same time, Perdomo's highly developed melodic expertise is never in question as he and the others navigate the unexpected changes masterfully without losing their way.

Perdomo carefully chose his partners on the project. He's been an admirer of DeJohnette's work since he heard the drummer's highly praised contributions to Keith Jarrett's trio recordings, and Gress, like Perdomo, is a veteran of Ravi Coltrane's quartet. Together the three musicians click as if they've been playing together for years. Yet, Perdomo told JazzTimes, “The whole thing was improvised. The way that you hear it on the record is the way that it was recorded. There are no overdubs; there are no fixings of anything. Everything is just as is." As Luis says in the album's liner notes, “When you play with musicians of such caliber, you don't have to work so hard to get to the sound you are hearing in your head."

Called an “eloquent young pianist" by the Boston Phoenix and a player of “serious, analytical music, wrapped in complexities of rhythm" by the New York Times, Luis Perdomo is one of the most exiting new piano voices in jazz, and Universal Mind is his crowning achievement to date.

About Luis Perdomo:

Luis Perdomo grew up in a home filled with music. Born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1971, Luis was exposed to just about every style of music by his father, an avid music fan and collector. Alongside salsa, Latin, R & B, and classical, the young Perdomo heard jazz greats like Bud Powell and Oscar Peterson, two of his earliest and most important musical influences. Drawn to jazz and to the piano at an early age, Luis was making regular professional appearances on Venezuelan TV and radio by the time he was twelve.

It was during this same period that Luis started to think more and more about the possibility of pursuing a life in music. The more he began to listen and to read about jazz—his tastes had expanded to include players like Cecil Taylor and John Coltrane—the more he became aware of one undeniable truth. All his favorite artists lived and/or recorded in New York City. Thus, it was only a matter of time before he too would make that move.

A full scholarship to the prestigious Manhattan School of Music was the catalyst. And it was at MSM where he began his formal study in both classical and jazz piano with Harold Danko and Martha Pestalozzi respectively. After receiving his BA in Jazz Performance in 1997, Luis pursued his Masters at Queens College with the legendary Sir Roland Hanna. This was perhaps one of the most pivotal moments in his development as an artist. “While studying with Sir Roland Hanna I came to realize just how little I knew about both the piano and the music. He forced me to start with a clean slate and to re-evaluate my musical perceptions—both about jazz and the history of jazz piano. I began to look at jazz and classical music in a new and more in-depth way and my playing evolved accordingly."

Luis' music “education," was not limited to the classroom. Soon after moving to New York, he quickly established himself as an in-demand pianist amassing quite an impressive resume. Some of the artists Luis has collaborated and/or performed with include Ravi Coltrane, John Patitucci, Ray Barretto, Brian Lynch, David Sanchez, Ben Wolfe, Butch Morris, Steve Turre, Mark Shim, Jane Bunnett, Marcus and E.J Strickland, Ralph Irizarry and Timbalaye, Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band, Tia Fuller, and Yosvany Terry. A list that is as notable both by its quality as well as its diversity. As a member of groups led by, Miguel Zenón, Ray Barretto and Ravi Coltrane, Luis has made his mark as a performer, a composer and arranger. He can be heard most recently on Ravi Coltrane's “Blending Times" and Miguel Zenón's 2012 Grammy nominated “ Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook"

In 2005, Perdomo released his first CD as a leader, “Focus Point", for RKM Records. Focus Point includes music that Luis wrote in college as well as more recent compositions. “I wanted to document my musical journey up to the present, but at the same time create arrangements that would give the music a certain continuity." Luis often writes with particular musicians in mind and on this recording, he was able to bring together some of his favorite musical collaborators including Miguel Zenón, Ravi Coltrane, Ugonna Okegwo, Ralph Peterson Jr. and Roberto Quintero. Focus Point brings to the forefront Luis' prodigious talents both as an innovative composer/arranger and a creative and original improviser. The CD received rave reviews in all the major jazz publications and appeared on many top ten lists of 2005.

Since 2005, Perdomo has released two critically acclaimed recordings as a leader “Awareness“ in 2007 and “Pathways“ in 2008. Each disc represents very distinct and contrasting aspects of his musical identity. “Awareness," which features his working trio—Hans Glawischnig (bass) and Eric McPherson (drums) as well as special guests, bassist Henry Grimes and drummer Nasheet Waits— is the more overtly “experimental" of the two. And the critics took notice immediately. The Village Voice praised him for his efforts calling him “A rather amazing improviser, the pianist is making a name for himself by feverishly assaulting the progressive edge of mainstream" This, however, doesn't mean he can not play or does not have reverence for the mainstream and the jazz tradition. “Pathways" makes it very clear that Perdomo is equally at ease in both worlds. His latest CD “Universal Mind," on the RKM Music label (Street Date Feb 14th, 2012) is a very special one for Luis: It features his long time band mate in Ravi Coltrane's Quartet, bassist Drew Gress, with whom he has built a strong rapport over the years, and one of most influential musicians in the history of Jazz, and also one of Luis' early influences: drummer Jack Dejohnette. Produced by Ravi Coltrane, “Universal Mind" is a record that incorporates elements that influenced Luis as an early age and steered him towards a career in music: fearless explorations, combined with passionate and adventurous playing.

Luis Perdomo Trio Tour Dates

February 23, 2012—The Jazz Standard—NYC
February 25, 2012—Birdland—Neuberg, Germany
Febraury 26, 2012—A-Trane—Berlin, Germany
February 28, 2012—Sunside—Paris, France
March 6, 2012—Jimmy Glass—Valencia, Spain

This story appears courtesy of Two for the Show Media.
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