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Austin Peralta - Eternal Planets [Album]

Austin Peralta - Eternal Planets [Album]


Review 2644 Views
Last Edited by: Chris MUG5 Maguire February 11th, 2011.

Jazz seems to have earned itself a reputation recently of being an older person’s pursuit, an appreciation which tends to be acquired with age. Austin Peralta single-handedly challenges this belief. At the tender age of twenty, Peralta releases his third, yes third, studio album Endless Planets after appearing in Jazz festivals around the world, and, yes, you really should be impressed. Not only has he been playing the piano since he was five but he’s already worked with and gained the admiration of many well respected jazz musicians including Chick Corea and Hank Jones. The composer of all seven tracks, Peralta’s piano is joined by Zane Musa on alto saxophone, Ben Wendel playing tenor and soprano sax, Hamilton Price on bass and Zach Harmon on drums. Together, they create a very rich, rolling sound that sweeps throughout the twists and turns of the album’s varying tones.

this is jazz at its most exciting, without predictability or visible framework despite its meticulous composition, just as it should be.
Introduction, ‘The Lotus Flower’, opens with that unmistakable smooth jazz sound favoured by late night bars, with saxophones taking the lead over Peralta’s subtle piano accompaniment. After laying the foundations, it slides slowly, smoothly and quietly away into the noticeably contrastable following track. ‘Capricornus’ opens with a joyful swagger, sashaying through its eight minutes of undulating sax and snazzy drum breaks. It leaps between all out speed and slow burning build, shifting pace and focus onto each instrument and part before sewing them back together to make the whole.

The up tempo vibe continues with ‘The Underwater Mountain Odyssey’. Peralta shifts to more of the main focus here, sometimes pounding, sometimes lightly brushing piano keys, propelling the tune along with ferocious speed. The saxophonists’ fingers are just as quick, running up and down scales almost non stop. Listening to a track like this really makes you appreciate the hard work and dedication it takes for artists to reach such a high calibre of expertise. You can literally hear the effort and strain on human dexterity which is required to play so fast and so precisely. Frankly, it’s awe inspiring.

The smooth and lighter aspect to the album returns with ‘Ode to Love’ which harnesses a gentle and quieter style of playing. ‘Algiers’ picks up on the influences of its name with a distinctly Arabic style, with saxophones taking on attributes that pushes the piece towards the so called ‘world music’ end of the scale. With a central tapping drumbeat, underpinning the many leaps and dives made throughout its thirteen and a half minute run, deep strings and playful piano runs switch between warm up clashes and rounded, ancient melodies. The song turns experimental in its last 3 minutes with a sound that starts somewhere near record static before switching into an echoing, electronic seascape, mimicking waves rushing into the shore.

Final track, the Epilogue ‘Renaissance Bubbles,’ sees a further collaboration with the UK based Cinematic Orchestra and soul singer Heidi Vogel. Here, the electronic influences of both the Cinematic Orchestra and the contribution of Dr. Strangeloop comes to the fore with under two minutes of distant, electronic sounding beats and bells overlaid with ghostly sighs that melt away into silence. Extremely different to the other tracks on offer, it is evidence of the experimentation and diversity of Peralta's music.

As a mark of what’s to come, Endless Planets suggests that Austin Peralta is a force to be reckoned with. Experimenting fearlessly, yet retaining the wisdom of those that have gone before, this is jazz at its most exciting, without predictability or visible framework despite its meticulous composition, just as it should be.

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