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Luis Perdomo & Controlling Ear Unit: Twenty-Two

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Luis Perdomo comes to Twenty-Two in a mood for a look back. After more than a decade as a founding member of Miguel Zenón’s longstanding quartet, a concurrent lengthy run with Ravi Coltrane and a half-dozen strong releases of his own, the pianist has built his intriguing new trio album on compositions inspired by memories of his move to New York 22 years ago from his native Venezuela.

Joining Perdomo are his wife, Mimi Jones, on bass and Rudy Royston on drums, both of whom offer supple support and make good use of their several opportunities to solo. Jones shines even brighter when she makes like Esperanza Spalding and adds wordless vocals to her bass work on “Aaychdee.” But the focus is mostly on Perdomo’s prowess on acoustic and electric piano. He’s reminiscent of Chick Corea on the best of the electric pieces, “Looking Through You” and “Cota Mil” (named for a traffic artery in Caracas). The acoustic pieces reveal different sides of Perdomo as composer and interpreter. “Love Tone Poem” and “Weil-heim” (for his first piano teacher, Gerry Weil) have clean, classical feels to them. “Old City” seems to have inherited some of its DNA from the Miles Davis tune “Nardis,” a favorite of Bill Evans. “Two Sides of a Goodbye” and the very short “Light Slips In” are more abstract, and Perdomo reshapes the lone cover, the Bee Gees hit “How Deep Is Your Love,” into a thoughtful ballad.

The disc’s hard-charging penultimate track, “Brand New Grays,” begins slowly before breaking into a sprint, Perdomo nimbly alternating electric and acoustic piano, as if trading solos with himself. “Days Gone Days Ahead” evokes reflective glances back while striding surefootedly forward, a fitting end to this superb musician’s midcareer pause to take stock.

Originally Published