Sacha Perry claims the gifted, if obscure, pianist Frank Hewitt as a primary influence; still, you can't miss the flavor of such revered masters as Herbie Nichols, Thelonious Monk, Barry Harris and, no surprise, Bud Powell in the work of this emerging, 30-ish player. Perry, in other words, is a bebop baby, proud of his heritage.
Why does Perry's trio effort Eretik exhilarate where far too many neobop endeavors enervate? Chalk it up to an intangible, if unmistakable, element: authenticity. The nuances of rhythm and accent, the use of space to spell the run-on melodic sentences, the just right sand-in-the-oyster harmony, all the essential details that keep bebop piano a living style, coarse through Perry's aesthetic bloodstream. Aided by the compact support of bassist Ari Roland and drummer Phil Stewart (a dyed-in-the-wool brushes man), Perry justifies investing time in his debut rather than returning to, say, the Thelonious Monk and Herbie Nichols Blue Notes.
Is the album, at 71 minutes, too long? Do the recurring arco bass solos and drum exchanges ultimately weary? Are a handful of Perry's 11 originals a tad generic? File the shortcomings under youthful missteps and savor a genuine keeper of the faith.