One thing that makes smooth jazz different from all other kinds of music is its diversity. Diversity in fans, performers and instruments makes smooth jazz stand out as a kind of music that embraces every aspect of life. Roberto Perera has been recording with the Paraguayan harp since the early 90's and has been a master at bringing the harp into smooth jazz. His latest release Sensual
, continues to show the diverse influences that smooth jazz brings to the listener. Perera brings a Latin American feel to the music that is not only sensual; it's passionate as well.
About the Paraguayan harp, Perera said, his goal has always been to approach the harp in an unorthodox manner, to stylistically play ideas not normally associated with the instrument. "When I started to play the harp in my early years," said Perera, "the Beatles were very popular. I listened to a lot of Brazilian music, pop from the U.S., tango, and folk music. What I really liked was the folk music of Paraguay and I soon started mixing, using the techniques of folk music to play Beatles tunes."
This is Perera's eighth release for Heads Up label and this time he did something different. He took four months to prepare and record Sensual
. "It was the first time I have ever spent so much time making an album, choosing all the best players and perfecting the arrangements," he said. Sensual
was produced by Michael Levine, a Florida arranger and keyboardist. "Levine is a thoughtful perfectionist who worked with care and paid attention to every detail to ensure a perfect musical outcome," said Perera. Sensual
features influences from Latin America, the Middle East and the United States, as well.
Perera’s original compositions make up the major portion of Sensual
, however, he does have some interesting collaborations on the release. He gets help from South American pianist, Raul di Blassio, with an instrumental version of the Latin hit A Puro Dolor
and Luis Enrique brings his vocal styling to the classic song Gracias a La Vida
One of the surprises on Sensual
is the remake of the 1970 hit by guitarist/writer Mason Williams of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Perera had mixed feelings about recording Classical Gas
, but he had fun with it and made it something special for the listener. Perera also salutes Brazilian composer, Antonio Carlos Jobim, with Remembering Antonio
. "The arrangement sounds practically like a Jobim arrangement. If you replace the harp with the piano, the tune would sound similar to one of those Bossa evergreens penned by Jobim in the early 1960's," said Perera.
Roberto Perera is a master at bringing diversity to smooth jazz. Many smooth jazz radio stations stick to keyboard, guitar, and sax and do not bring full diversity to the listener. If program directors listen to Classical Gas
, they will discover the radio-friendly and listener-friendly song they are looking for, while bringing in a new instrument to the rotation. Perera is very sensual and emotional as well. He has the passion of a great smooth jazz performer.