As musicians, Danilo Pérez John Patitucci & Brian Blade were three quarters of the Wayne Shorter Quartet for over ten years. Indeed, a copy of this new release - their first album as a trio - was presented by the trio to the legendary player as a thank you gift for the apprenticeship years. Not only that, but a Shorter standard, Dolores, gets a fine reading within.
The record kicks off with the muscular yet ever-reaching title track, Children of the Light, full of percussive dazzle and unquiet in the best sense. Things get more questioning and obscure on the following two tracks, Sunburn and Mosquito (Dedicated to Carolina) and Moonlight on Congo Square, but these guys make you want to keep up with their jive out of sheer curiosity.
Pérez is a subtle operator on his acoustic piano, it’s the opposite effect of what you get with a show-boater like Keith Jarrett - things are in general more muted and less occupational of the foreground, as it were. He plays both acoustic piano and Yamaha CP4 Stage electric piano on the vibrant, concluding track African Wave and the overall effect is, naturally, a bit like Chick Corea.
Patitucci plays acoustic, five and six-string electric bass three tunes and contributes a tune called Ballad for a Noble Man (In Memory of Doug Summer) which gently skates over brief flurries of tactful cymbal shimmer from Brian Blade with help too from cellist Sachi Patitucci. As is the case almost throughout the album, the trio neatly side-step any chance of the melody getting pretty or plaintive - now, who'd want that? Milky Way is a comparable, meditative piece, running atop a charge of busily dutiful drum work.
Looking for Light is for much of the time an essay in leafy languor and deep pile luxury, with Patitucci essaying a tersely talkative brief solo. It does sufficiently build, however, to break out in a kind of sweat. Luz del Alma is a soft, charming piano solo exercise as is Within Everything. Everything about this album breathes vintage expertise, self-assuredness and the kind of empathy that a trio who have been working together for over a decade should know.