For 15 wonderful years now, pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci and New Orleans native, drummer Brian Blade have been members of the Wayne Shorter Quartet. The three musicians’ debut recording with the legendary saxophonist and composer was captured on Shorter’s brilliant 2002 release, Footprints Live!
Perez, Patitucci and Blade all enjoyed highly acclaimed individual careers before teaming with Shorter and have successfully continued those singular endeavors. In the world of jazz, they stand at the top. Children of the Light represents the first time that they have stepped out as a unit sans Shorter’s horn. His spirit, however, remains in their music and undoubtedly always will.
Each musician contributes original material to the project that moves from pure brightness as illustrated on Perez’s opening, title cut to the filtered, shadowy glow of Patitucci’s “Moonlight on Congo Square.” There is a musical and thematic continuum throughout the disc that offers the wonderment of exploration and the delight of discovery—similar to child-like revelations. In their own ways, each of these exceptional musicians approaches the music with a light, though never hesitant touch. It’s a matter of excellence sharing space with humility.
Blade’s offering, “Within Everything,” is the most melodic selection here—it is truly lovely like a lullaby. These masters gently caress each loving note. Following some quietude, Blade kicks off the rhythmically and melodically multi-cultural “African Wave” with Perez moving to electric keys at journey’s end.
Children of the Light is as intellectual as it is child-like, as complex as it is simple. It is human.