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May 2002

Tony Perez
From Enchantment and Timba...to Full Force Jazz
Pimienta Records

Tony Perez is a 28-year-old pianist from Sancti Sp¡ritus, Cuba, who was handpicked by Chucho Valdes in 1998 to lead Irakere when the founder retired from the group. On Perez's second solo album, From Enchantment and Timba...to Full Force Jazz, navigates a picturesque voyage through many styles of Latin and jazz music.

Truly the enchantments of this CD are Perez's impeccable Latin-piano chops and well-tempered jazz harmonies with a classical edge. A rendition of Tito Puente's "Picadillo" opens the CD and it shows Perez can montuno with the best of them. Perez's "Encanto" follows with a solo piano minuet introduction that exhibits the influential imprints of Chucho Valdes and Emiliano Salvador.

The timba part of the CD is the vibration of Perez's generation. Timba is a dance music evolved by Jose Luis Cortes y NG La Banda that fuses the songo beat innovations of Juan Formell y los Van Van with American Funk and hip-hop. Willie Colon's "Jazzy" burns with timba's frantic energy and the horn-driven ensemble stamp of Irakere.

The full-force jazz aspect of the CD is what Perez is creating whenever he touches the keys and displays his improvisational virtuosity. From marvels with twisting arrangements like "La Diferencia" and "A Puerto Padre Me Voy" to his ragtime-inspired "A la Antigua," Perez is a talented captain steering through some of the freshest jazz waters in the Caribbean.

Originally published in May 2002
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