Roberto Perera, the musical innovator who first introduced the jazz and pop world to the Paraguayan harp, combines a wide range of Latin American rhythms and contemporary jazz textures on Sensual (enhanced CD HUCD 3066).
As usual, Perera finds himself in great company. Sensual was produced by the Florida keyboardist/arranger Michael Levine (co-producer of the platinum recording by Raul Di Blasio, Piano de America, Vol. 2). Musically, Perera crosses many boundaries as he draws from both hemispheres, from "Un Beso"’s rumba/flamenca/cumbia encounter to "Cruising Leblon"’s exotic Brazilian/Paraguayan convergence. "Tormenta De Arena" ripples with the textures of the Middle East while "El Coqui Salsero" draws from the brassy, Antillean salsa idiom.
While the majority of the album is made up of Perera’s original compositions, Sensual also contains some exciting collaborations. He is joined by some very special guests on soulful interpretations of two highly recognized Latin American tunes. South American piano master Raul Di Blasio lends his distinctive stylings to the instrumental version of producer/composer Omar Alfanno’s megahit "A Puro Dolor," performed by Son By Four, and the internationally renowned Central American singer Luis Enrique adds a stunning touch to Violeta Soledad Parra’s classic "Gracias a La Vida."
Perera tips his cap to the North with an imaginative rendition of Mason William’s 1970 crossover hit, "Classical Gas." The superb arrangement was done by Levine, whom Roberto describes as "a thoughtful perfectionist who worked with care and paid attention to every detail to ensure a perfect musical outcome." Nowhere is this more evident than on "Remembering Antonio," Perera’s homage to his musical idol, the late Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim. "It sounds practically like a Jobim arrangement," points out Perera. "If you replace the harp with a piano, this tune would sound similar to one of those bossa evergreens penned by Jobim in the early 1960s."
Perera began his association with Heads Up International in 1991 with the release of Passions, Illusions & Fantasies, an album which garnered overwhelming critical acclaim throughout the Americas and Europe. The following year Perera captured Billboard’s first ever "Contemporary Latin Jazz Album of the Year" award for Dreams & Desires. 1993 saw the release of Christmas Fantasies, which Hispanic Magazine called "easily one of the best Christmas themes in years." On his four subsequent releases for Heads Up - Seduction (1994), Harp & Soul (1996), Erotica (1997) and In the Mood (2000) - Perera continued to explore the lush musical landscapes which earned him Jazziz honors as "Favorite Jazz Artist" in his category on numerous occasions.