As the album title suggests, PanaMonk is a Panamanian's tribute to Thelonious Monk. Most of the tracks are Monk compositions, with a few Perez originals thrown in for good measure. To the pianist's credit, Perez deftly evokes the style and spirit of Monk and yet manages to put his own spin on it. In his renditions of “Reflections,” “Bright Mississippi” (one of Monk's lesser-known pieces) and “'Round Midnight,” Perez plays with Monk's trademark sparse and percussive style, all the while complementing it with a slightly Latin, up-tempo rhythm. On his own pieces, like the ballad “Mercedes' Moo” or the burning “Hot Bean Strut,” the pianist proves himself a capable composer who plays with authority. PanaMonk further confirms Perez's place in the elite circle of contemporary jazz musicians.
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