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Luis Perdomo

Luis Perdomo

Luis Perdomo didn’t want to make a Latin jazz record when he first arrived in New York City, 13 years ago. Even though the pianist-composer is firmly rooted in the idiom, having grown up in Caracas, Venezuela, he says that he “just wasn’t into it,” when producers from two major labels asked him to dole out boilerplate Latin-jazz standards.

Perdomo’s long-overdue debut, Focus Point (RKM) contains moments that are undeniably Latin in terms of the bata drums and Afro-Venezuelan percussion rhythms pulsating underneath blistering songs such as “You Know I Know” and “San Millan.” But elsewhere the disc veers toward the avant-garde (“The Stranger”) and then back to straightahead (“Breakdown”), all while keeping a cohesive sound. “I just waited until I got the right opportunity where I could just play music,” Perdomo says.

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