Acclaimed pianist Luis Perdomo benefits from a dream rhythm section that exercises sympathetic support on this rather zealous trio date. He's a first-rate improviser, and there's no mystery as to why he's an in-demand session artist. On this album, Perdomo fuses a restless spirit with a highly rhythmic architecture. His artistry is modeled on power, grace and shifting tides amid a poetry-in-motion gait, encapsulated by sweeping runs and unanticipated time changes. Here, the band locks in and punches out a series of sizzling movements, contrasting the temperate subtleties.
Bassist Drew Gress seizes several opportunities and uses space as a reflector, where he reconstructs a theme with deftly articulated lines. And of course, grandmaster Jack DeJohnette's rolling-wave polyrhythms and impeccable timekeeping rounds offer a value-add to the sum of the briskly moving parts. Otherwise, Perdomo's creative improvisational acumen helps sustain interest from start to finish.
Perdomo tempers the pitch on his original composition "Just Before." Here, the leader formulates an attractive motif, abetted by finesse and supple yet complex unison phrasings with the rhythm section. DeJohnette's crisp cymbals hits and accents solidify the textural schema in concert with the pianist's cascading block chords and flourishing developments.
They raise the pitch and throttle back to a balanced attack as Gress provides an argument of sorts by answering Perdomo via a call and response mechanism that is unhurried yet passionate. And they close out the piece with gusto and a drifting fadeout that imparts a touch of class to the endpoint. In sum, Universal Mind is one of the more stimulating piano trio outings out there. Putting sterling musicianship aside, the album's oscillating currents, dips, spikes and quaint surprises, yield an abundance of gratifying characteristics.