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Thanks for visiting! Stay awhile, check out the links and the MUSIC! For a few years now I've been working towards finding my musical voice though the piano and the pen. It's been an interesting journey, to say the least. The video to the right features my group Cuban Afro-Fusion. In addition, I continue to find many blessings through my educational endeavors. More on that HERE... If you keep scrolling down, you'll catch the latest news in the blog. Please join my mailing list to keep up with everything. Many thanks to my friends, family and YOU for your continued support and interest. Keep swinging! -Oscar
Oscar Perez Cuban Afro-Fusion in Concert
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OP Nuevo Comienzo Promo Video
Contact: Ann Braithwaite / Ann@bkmusicpr.com
Pianist Oscar Perez Celebrates New CD: Prepare a Place for Me
Featuring the Rhythm Duo of Thomson Kneeland & Alvester Garnett
Plus Alto Saxophonist Bruce Williams
Thursday, October 8 at Trumpets in Montclair, NJ
“An improviser and composer with his own distinct voice, NYC native Oscar Perez has expertly combined the traditions of his Cuban heritage with straight-ahead jazz.” — Sheila Anderson, WBGO FM
Prize-winning pianist Oscar Perez celebrates the release of his latest album, Prepare a Place for Me, on Thursday, October 8 at Trumpets Jazz Club & Restaurant, 6 Depot Square, Montclair, NJ. He’s joined by the players from the album: bassist Thomson Kneeland, drummer Alvester Garnett, and alto saxophonist Bruce Williams. Set from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Tickets: $12 in advance; $15 at the door. $7 food/ drink minimum. For more information, visit http://www.trumpetsjazz.com/event/oscar-perez-cd-release/ or call 973-744-2600.
After two albums that emphasized the composing side of his ever-burgeoning art, Oscar Perez – described by JazzTimes as “a pianist of impeccable technique and fluency” – presents his “blowing” side with the album Prepare a Place for Me, which he calls “a real playing record.” The album will be released October 13, 2015 on Myna Records.
Perez and company essay seven of the pianist’s glittering, grooving originals, as well as an intoxicating, flamenco-tinged recasting of Thelonious Monk’s “Round Midnight” and a lovely interpretation of the Hoagy Carmichael ballad “The Nearness of You.” Reviewing his septet album Afropean Affair in 2011, JazzTimes praised Perez as “an extraordinary composer who blends the rhythmic complexity of Latin American music with the elegant harmonies of jazz,” while DownBeat chimed in by marveling over the music’s “wondrous interaction of piano and band.” Perez and company also celebrate the CD release at Cornelia Street Café in Manhattan’s West Village on Monday, October 26.
Perez – a protégé of Danilo Perez and Sir Roland Hanna – won 2nd prize in the venerable Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition in Florida last year, with his personal rendition of “The Nearness of You” standing out. “I’ve always considered myself a composer as much as a player,” he says. “But I played the competition and wanted to make playing the focus of my next album. Recording with cats I’ve performed live with for awhile was really important to the feel of this record. There’s a lot of listening and interplay in the trio with Thomson and Alvester – the music tends to simmer, with solos developing in a slow burn. Bruce is a kindred spirit, too, and his playing tends to push the harmony, but in a soulful way.”
Prepare a Place for Me kicks off with a straight-ahead jazz version of “Just Everything,” an engaging Perez tune originally cast as a Spanish-titled bolero (“Solamente Todo”) on his quintet debut album, Nuevo Comienzo, from 2005. The album’s originals also include the aptly titled “Snake Charm” and
Williams-led swinger “Headin’ Over” (with Perez’s writing on that tune influenced by Cedar Walton), as well as the intricate “Message to Monterey.” Then there are “Prepare a Place for Me,” the absorbing, gospel-inspired title track, and “Mushroom City,” which is built on an infectious Brazilian baiao groove. Perez’s personal favorite is the closer “Song for Ofelia,” about which the pianist says: “It has a special place in my heart. I wrote it after the passing of my grandmother Ofelia Betancur. She was the matriarch of the entire family and showed incredible strength through many of life’s difficulties. My daughter Ofelia has her same spirit.”
Throughout Prepare a Place for Me, Perez’s playing sparkles and dances with melodic interest and rhythmic verve, intertwined with his bass/drum partners and the long-breathed lines of Williams. About their interaction, the pianist says: “When you’re younger, you’re out to impress with your playing, aiming to turn heads. But now I feel that the emphasis is on just making the music all it can be – not concentrating on sounding as impressive as possible as an individual but on trying to make the other players sound great. I want the vibe to be as communal as can be, and I think that’s when music – especially jazz improvisation – thrives.”