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A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Photo courtesy of allaboutjazz.com

Photo courtesy of allaboutjazz.com

The New York Times praises Luis Perdomo for his “strong, uncluttered conviction” as a leader, while also noting that he is an “indispensable supporting player.” The Village Voice sums it up by characterizing Luis as “a rather amazing improviser,” and adds that, regardless of the situation, “he consistently brings whomping rhythmic thrust and a consummate sense of groove.”

A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Luis was surrounded by music from an early age. Though his father’s record collection familiarized Luis with a variety of styles of music, it was the pianism of Bud Powell and Oscar Peterson that caught his attention from an early age. At the age of twelve, Luis was already performing and recording for Venezuelan TV and radio. Soon thereafter, the young pianist began to gravitate towards two experimentalists of the nineteen sixties: John Coltrane and Cecil Taylor.

Luis knew he needed to move to New York to continue his musical journey, and a full scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music provided the opportunity. Before long, the word spread, and the pianist became a first-call sideperson. Most notably, Luis has made significant contributions to bands led by saxophonists Ravi Coltrane and Miguel Zenón, and has also worked with  John Patitucci, David Sanchez, Ben Wolfe, Butch Morris, and Yosvany Terry, to name just a few.

Luis is no stranger to the piano at The Jazz Gallery. He’s performed here as a leader or co-leader upwards of twenty times since 2002, and has also appeared regularly with Ravi and Miguel. In 2007, we commissioned Luis as a part of The Jazz Gallery Composers’ Series. The result was ”Central Coast: Impressions on Afro-Venezuelan Music”, an extended work featuring the twin bass stylings of Boris Koslov and Hans Glawischnig along with reedist Peter Apfelbaum and drummer Eric McPherson. Speaking about the experience in an interview with The Beating Planet, Luis explains:

Some time ago, The Jazz Gallery [asked] me [to write] a work [for] its composers cycle. The venue has been a home [to me] during the last ten years. That’s how I had the opportunity to consolidate a project I had in mind for some time. I called it “Central Coast: Impressions on Afro-Venezuelan music”, which is a ten-piece collection inspired by the music of Venezuela’s central coast. It was very successful, since my idea was to keep the main rhythmic elements and the spirit of that music, but present [it] in a different way. I hired a sax player who played flute, percussion and blow-organ. There were also two acoustic bass players, a drummer and of course piano. It was a very interesting thing that attracted the attention of the audience.

In 2011, Luis participated in a residency as a member of Miguel Zenón‘s quartet, in which the band performed at The Gallery on a monthly basis for over a year. The residency was designed to prepare the group to record their 2011 release, Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook, which was recently nominated for a GRAMMY.

On Saturday, Luis will make his first appearance on our new stage (at 1160 Broadway, 5th floor) with his quartet, featuring the saxophonist Miguel Zenón, the bassist Mimi Jones, and the drummer Rodney Green.

Listen to “Berimvela,” a cut from Luis’ 2012 release The Infancia Project on the Criss Cross label.