The Year of Two Summers
Lima Limón Records
Composition allows the Latin Jazz musician to reflect honestly upon their life through music. Artists gain exposure to diverse musical genres as they travel between musical communities and they participate in a variety of performance contexts. Some genres stick to the artist while others linger in their thoughts, but all these exposures influence the musician’s output. As the musician gains more life experiences, they start to observe the roles that music plays in culture and the ways that people integrate it into their lives. Sometimes musicians replicate these musical practices in an authentic context while other times they interpret these observations, but the reflections travel into the musician’s mind. By the time an artist writes a composition, a wealth of inspirational background material comes together into their final product. Boundaries fade as the artist solidifies their life experiences into compositions; influences, styles, and ideas freely flow into one another, resulting in a sound unique to that one musician. Bassist Edward Perez brings together a rich background of influences on The Year of Two Summers, resulting in a strong yet personal Latin Jazz statement that travels between Peruvian, Cuban, Columbian, and straight-ahead jazz worlds.
A Strong Connection to Afro-Peruvian Music
Several songs draw upon Perez’s background in Afro-Peruvian music, which he combines freely with other styles. Eli Degibri’s soprano saxophone delicately plays the melody over a Lando rhythm on “Sweet Pea,” reflecting an innocent beauty inherent in the song. Perez thoughtfully creates a melodic statement, moving between an exploration of the song’s rich harmony and a rhythmic interplay with the cajon. Degibri returns with a highly embellished interpretation of the melody, leading into a fade out over a joyful rhythmic momentum. Vocalist Sofia Koutsovitis accompanies Degibri, drummer Willard Dyson, and Arturo Stable on cajon through a mysterious melodic introduction that transitions into an uplifting melody. The group raises the song into an intensive flurry of repeated melodic cells, which suddenly breaks down into an unaccompanied solo from pianist Misha Piatigorsky. The percussionists return for Perez’s engaging improvisation that evolves through strong melodicism and rising sequences. A series of rhythmic hits and short melodic ideas provide ample opportunity for cajon fills from Stable on “Pasar el Tiempo, Aunque Fugaz, Contigo.” Furious and stuttering bass notes over clapping set up a transition into the album’s most unpredictable and exciting moment as Piatigorsky tears into a wild minimoog solo over a disco beat. More cajon improvisations from Stable lead the song back to a sensitive solo from Perez, filled with a sense of urgency. Perez’s deep understanding of Peruvian styles allows him to easily find connections with other genres, resulting in a rich collection of compositions.
A Firm Foundation In Modern Jazz
Perez explores his background in modern jazz, exploring a variety of approaches and showing a deep connection to the style. Degibri’s tenor sax pushes a minor melody through a series of syncopated rhythmic breaks on “Willing Suspension of Disbelief.” As the band charges into a straight-ahead swing feel, Degibri playfully indulges the rhythm section’s interactive edge with rhythmic phrases, long winding lines, and an unstoppable momentum. After an intensive solo from Perez and a return to the melody, the group sets up a series of kicks while Dyson showcases his strong improvisatory skills. The rhythm section provides a laid-back ballad feel on “March 5, 2004,” allowing Degibri to indulge his rich tenor tone. Degibri reveals a deep melodic sensibility as he tenderly interprets the melody, inserting a genuine investment with subtle dynamic shadings and improvisatory embellishments. Piatigorsky emanates a reflective quality throughout his improvisation, carefully choosing each note as he builds his statement. The brief yet engaging “No More Breakfast in the 10th District” reflects an interest in a classic fusion sound. The hypnotic melody pushed forward by an aggressive breakbeat gets a boost from a short yet inspired Fender Rhodes solo by Piatigorsky. A brief return to the song on “No More Breakfast” gives Degibri a chance to enthusiastically explore this setting before the song dissolves into a free improvisation. These songs portray another side of Perez, showing a deep commitment and foundation in modern jazz.
A Broad Display of Latin Styles
Perez’s extensive experiences with different Latin styles informs many other tracks. Degibri leads the group through a colorful melody on “Josue Armando Se Fue Andando,” winding the melody through long chords, a Columbian bullerengue rhythm, and a quick swing section. Long and twisting bebop phrases, coupled with rhythmic intensity and a screaming tone build Degibri’s improvisation into a roaring climax. Piatigorsky follows Degibri’s lead, jumping right into quick lines and building tension through displaced rhythmic ideas. The rhythm section establishes a rumba guaguanco underneath an understated yet effective melody on “The Year of Two Summers.” After an ominous melodic interlude from Piatigorsky, Degibri, and Koutsovitis, the band explodes into an up-tempo swing for Degibri’s melodic improvisation. Piatigorsky develops a powerful statement over both guaguanco and swing feels, until both soloists return to trade ideas after the melody. Stable provides a brief unaccompanied conga solo before bursting into the energetic groove that drives “Straits of Magellan.” After a melody filled with conversational lines, Degibri slowly develops his statement, building into a stream of intensive runs and emotive screams. The group returns to the melody, resolving into an open vamp for an explosive display of ideas from Dyson. Perez’s exploration of both Cuban and Columbian styles provides breadth to the album, giving a fuller picture of his artistic personality.
A Rich Mixture of Musical Influences
Perez shares a rich tapestry of life experiences on The Year of Two Summers, revealing an astute artist with a wide palette of musical influences. His integration of Latin styles reflects an authentic connection with the music, but it avoids a stiff adherence to conventions. Perez allows the genres to breath within his compositions; he travels between the styles, drawing upon their inherent similarities. There’s a natural ease to the work that feels both comfortable and informed – Perez has obviously worked extensively in each genre and his experience shines through the recording. At the same time, each composition contains a significant amount of depth, filled with rich harmonies, carefully constructed melodies, and complex forms. His compositional approach challenges listeners while inviting them along for a ride through his view of the world. Perez’s band shows a definite empathy for his cross-cultural perspective while displaying a strong foundation in jazz aesthetics. The interaction between soloists and rhythm section reflects a study of the best jazz improvisers and a firm application of that education. Their voices support Perez’s vision without overwhelming it, instead bringing their personalities into the greater whole. The knowledgeable and insightful musical approach on The Year of Two Summers reveals an observant voice in Perez’s compositional style that blends life, culture, and tradition into an intriguing mixture – an exciting journey that will easily keep us engaged as we wait for the next chapter.