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CD/BOOK REVIEWS

Tales to Tell
Review by Leon Gettler
Australian Jazz Net
September 2014

An exceptional album. Their previous album 'Moments In Time' had a folkish feel to it. This one is different; it tells a story, a tale of collaboration between different cultures, South American and Asian, Middle Eastern and European, a blend of jazz, world music, pop and a bit of R&B. The result: a multi-layered cultural mix that can only be Australian, a product of a nation created by immigrants who brought their backgrounds with them and wove it into the nation’s cultural fabric. This is unmistakeably Australian jazz, a genre you wouldn’t hear anywhere else in the world.

To do this, Pertout and Dassenaike have brought together talented musicians from around the world. They have assembled a line-up to die for, bringing together jazz luminaries from Australia and around the world, something that’s rare on any album. That’s only one reason why this album is so captivating.

The album is intensely personal, capturing the Latin American and Southern Asian roots. You can feel it in the first piece ‘Nothing To Hide’ which opens with an Andean feel with Pertout playing the panpipes, bombo, bongos, shakers, glockenspiel and doing the handclaps with Dassenaike’s ethereal voice floating over the top like an ocean wave. The standout feature on this track is the superb piano solo from Dee Dee Bridgewater’s pianist and arranger Edsel Gomez who has also worked with everyone from Gary Burton, Chick Corea and Jerry Gonzalez to Claudio Roditi and Don Byron.

You hear it in the next track too, ‘Little Promises’ which is based on a traditional Sri Lankan folk melody. Dassenaike expands on the theme, taking it in new directions. Listen out for pianist Andrea Keller’s backing on here, making sure she stays well and truly in the background. The highlight on this track is Mike Stern’s guitar that seems to come out of nowhere giving a slight R&B flavour. Stern also features on the track ‘Falling’ and ‘Wanderlust’ His guitar makes an enormous difference here. ‘Falling’ is a track that bursts with joy as we hear Dassenaike’s voice blending in with the bongos, shaker, cymbals and other percussive effects from Pertout.

The cultural mix is also captured perfectly on the track ‘Un Mismo Camino’ which in Spanish means “on the same pathway”. With its Latin American feel, Dassenaike’s voice soars above it, dancing around the rhythms perfectly. Paul Grabowsky’s piano accompaniment is sublimely subtle and it’s capped off by Miroslav Bukovsky’s ethereal voicings on the flugelhorn. Listen out for Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy on tabla, apparently recorded at a London studio, and Cuban violinist William Roblejo.

And to cap off that unmistakably Australian feel, we have the track ‘Clear Water’ which creates a shifting urban landscape. The sound is straight out of the city with street scenes recorded in Havana, Cuba. The feel here is of constant movement and dynamism with Tom E Lewis providing the sound of the didgeridoo and his own chanting vocals against the congas, triangle, bombo and vibes of Pertout. Australian jazz at its best.


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Tales To Tell ★★★★★
Review by Trent Bryson-Dean
Drumscene Magazine
December 2014

While it’s certainly not the first time an album has been recorded at different locations around the globe with a host of international performers painting on the musical canvas, this second album release from Alex and Nilusha is a smorgasbord of colour, shade and intricacy. This duo of legendary percussionist Alex Pertout and Sri Lankan vocalist Nilusha Dassenaike truly fit together like hand and glove, creating a delightful World Music experience here that is breathtaking from start to finish. With a host of phenomenal ensemble players contributing to this disc, from the distinctive twang of American guitarist Mike Stern, to the ever-tasteful Miroslav Bukovsky (flugelhorn), Paul Grabowsky and Luke Howard (piano), Craig Newman and Evripides Evripidou (bass), Tales To Tell is a smashing follow up that will take the listener on a remarkable musical journey.


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Tales To Tell ★★★★
Review by Billy Pinnell
Stack Magazine
Featured Artist
November 2014

Alex is Chilean-born percussionist Alex Pertout who has embellished hundreds of Australian albums, from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to Paul Kelly, Hunters & Collectors and Daryl Braithwaite. His collaborator, Sri Lankan-born singer Nilusha Dassenaike has worked with Don Burrows, James Morrison, Renee Geyer and Ross Wilson. This exceptional release of originals was recorded in Melbourne, Argentina, England, the USA and Cuba with outstanding local contributions. These include pianists Paul Grabowsky and Andrea Keller, actor/musician Tom E Lewis, plus international renowned guitarist Mike Stern (Miles Davis) and Dee Dee Bridgewater’s musical director/pianist Edsel Gomez. The music is an intoxicating fusion of different cultures: Latin American, Asian, Middle Eastern with elements of jazz, world music, Andean (Alex playing the panpipes), pop and English folk ‘I Gave My Love A Cherry’ is cleverly grafted to the final track. It’s full of irresistible rhythms born of Alex’s armoury of percussion instruments and the captivating voice of Nilusha who scats and sings in her native voice and English, depending on the mood of each song.


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Tales To Tell
Review by Tony Hillier
Rhythms Magazine
November 2014

Sri Lankan-born singer/composer Nilusha Dassenaike and Chilean-born percussionist/composer Alex Pertout present a polished and possibly unique combination of traditional Sinhala melodies, pan-Latin and world music rhythms and jazz textures. Incorporating Kanatic and jazz singing techniques and a huge array of percussive flavours, the album also feature contributions from some of Australia’s finest jazz players.

Tales To Tell is dynamic, thanks in part to the consummate lead and rhythm guitar work of US ace Mike Stern on two of the Australia-based duo’s co-writes and a traditional Sri Lankan folk song. The exquisite tabla playing of another distinguished international guest, Egyptian Hossam Ramzy, lifts several other songs, along with Paul Grabowsky’s elegant piano solos.Tom E. Lewis’s didgeridoo fits well with Pertout’s berimbau and some half-dozen more of the author’s arsenal of instruments in the sublime ‘Clear Water’. ‘Nemamusasa / I Gave My Love A Cherry’ adroitly combines Zimbabwean and English folk songs. Dassenaike’s imaginative interpretation of a traditional Sri Lankan piece, ‘The King’s Lament’, is comparable to Anglo-Indian Susheela Raman’s best work.


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Tales To Tell
Review by Peter Wockner
Jazz & Beyond
December 2014

One of the beauties of music is that it has no borders. 'Tales to Tell' is further proof that music has wholeheartedly adopted the global village concept of the 21st century. The voice and percussion remain the most primitive forms of musical expression. But here there are many origins of music either implied or used for inspiration from regions including south Asian, Middle-Eastern, African, Caribbean, Latin and indigenous Australia. 'Tales to Tell' is a compelling cross-cultural collaboration for percussionist Alex Pertout and vocalist Nilusha Dassenaike. A number of guests appear including guitarist Mike Stern and pianist Paul Grabowsky. The melodies are both catchy and challenging for vocals but Nilusha’s voice is malleable enough to envelope the harmonies and rhythms with consummate ease.

Four traditional folk melodies are amongst the originals penned by the duo. Pertout uses a variety of modern and primitive percussion instruments. In the Latin 'Un Mismo Camino' he illuminates the rhythms with congas, cajon, shaker, claves, cymbals, vibes and marimba while Hossam Ramzy adds an Egyptian flavour on tabla along with Norton on oud. Grabowsky teasingly plays against the beat and Mike Bukovsky’s flugelhorn provides a jubilant call against the overdubbed background vocals of Nilusha. 'Little Promises' is a traditional Sri Lankan folk song which features guitarist Mike Stern on lead and rhythm guitars. Rhythmically driven, it also features the konnakol (South Indian Carnatic vocal percussion) styling of Pertout. Whilst the level of layering and production with this recording is lofty, it only acts to focus attention on the wondrous voice of Nilusha and the hypnotic kaleidoscope of Pertout.


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Moments In Time ★★★★½
Review by John McBeath
The Australian
Mar 31, 2012

Alex Pertout is a highly regarded Melbourne multi-instrumental percussionist, musical author and educator. He has appeared on hundreds of recordings, film and television soundtracks, and in huge numbers of live performances with groups as disparate as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Kevin Borich Express.

Pertout has worked with vocalist-composer Nilusha Dassenaike, of Sri Lankan background, for the past ten years, and their album draws on Latin, Asian and African music styles, all infused with jazz influences in originals and traditionals. This is a formidable undertaking, using up to nine additional musicians and Pertout's astonishing assemblies of percussion instruments - ten on some tracks.

'Free/Male Male', a Sri Lankan folk song, has Pertout employing an ibo pot, kanjira (Indian frame drum), bongos, glockenspiel, shekere (an African gourd shaker), castanets, windchimes and other percussive effects behind Dassenaike's enchanting lead and background vocals, culminating in her counterpoint voicings. There's a fine piano solo from Joe Chindamo, plus a sarod, piano accordion, bass and drums.

Santamaria's 'Afro Blue', in addition to luxuriant over-dubbed vocals, features Pertout's driving congas and sympathetic trumpet and flugelhorn solos from Miroslav Bukovsky. Dassenaike's ethereal ballad 'The Wind', with its dreamy lyrics, uses only a piano trio with percussion, while Pertout's Moments in Time, with Dassenaike's languid words, swings with a gentle Latin beat.


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Moments In Time ★★★★

Review by Warwick McFadyen
The Age / Sydney Morning Herald
Mar 31, 2012

Alex is Alex Pertout, percussionist extraordinaire. Nilusha is Nilusha Dassenaike, vocalist extraordinaire. Both are luminaries of the Australian jazz/world scene and have delivered a suite of songs that entrances the senses. Dassenaike brings a warmth to her singing; her interpretation of James Taylor's 'You Can Close Your Eyes' is simply lovely. She and Pertout share most of the song credits and there is not a weak link in the chain. Pertout shows in sublime style how percussion is more than the drum roll, but can be a sparkling joyous rhythm. The duo is joined by Joe Chindamo and Tony Gould (piano), Miroslav Bukovsky (trumpet), Dave Valentin (flute), Craig Newman (bass), David Jones (drums) and Leonard Grigoryan (guitar).


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Moments In Time ★★★★★
Review by Trent Bryson-Dean
Drumscene
Issue 68 April/May/June, 2012

Renowned percussionist/composer Alex Pertout and vocalist/composer Nilusha Dassenaike lead this remarkable ensemble that embraces a pleasantly broad jazz and modern world music sound. 'Moments
in Time' is a truly exquisite album that is beautiful on so many levels. Performing six original compositions and six rearranged standards, this ensemble plays with consummate professionalism – not a note here is overstated or overcooked from anyone. Pertout and drummer David Jones blend together seamlessly and create a hotbed of rhythm for their fellow band mates; pianists Joe Chindamo, Tony Gould and Andrew Jones, trumpet player Miroslav Bukovsky, bassist Craig Newman, guitarist Leonard Grigoryan, sarod player Saby Bhattacharya and legendary flautist Dave Valentine, to build and create on with much joy and maturity. The true test of this disc is how deeply it continues to grow on you with repeated listens – this is a great disc from a noteworthy, unique musical pairing!


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Moments In Time
Review by Peter Kenneally
Jazz Planet / Extempore
April 5, 2012

Dark Star Rising

It's all driven along by and part of the rhythmic net around it: when this happens, and it does often, the album draws you in and entrances you. On the new album by percussionist Alex Pertout and singer Nilusha Dassenaike there’s a fairly even mix of originals and covers, and between songs where the lyrics are prominent and those where the vocal is more an instrumental articulation.

There is a very particularly jazz kind of song, or singing, where the lyrics are lingered over and poured out slowly, as with the title track of ‘Moments in Time’, which has a lingering beauty. In Jobim’s 'Waters of March’ the words, so dense and declensive, are necessarily precise, held in a web of percussion and punctuated by spare, self-possessed piano from Tony Gould. In fact, although most of the piano on the album is from Joe Chindamo, and melds effortlessly with the latinesque, percussive sway of the whole, Tony Gould’s playing counterpoints instead: definitely a combination worth pursuing.

Gould is only present on a couple of tracks, and one of the pleasures of 'Moments in Time' is the way musicians appear and fade away at exactly the right moments. Saby Bhattacharya on sarod lends an ineffably spangly edge to several tracks, particularly ‘Waters of March’. Miroslav Bukosky on trumpet is perfect for the swing of ‘Afro Blue’.

In ‘Between You and I’ a song by Dassenaike herself, a crisp, driven ‘microfiction’ of regret and heartache, the story is real, and the vocals rush playfully along, with many a brave sally against the limits of the line. As if there isn’t enough room in the house of language for the emotions in the song, she breaks out, into a Sinhalese chant, and into knowing, glancing wordlessness.

It’s all driven along by and part of the rhythmic net around it: when this happens, and it does often, the album draws you in and entrances you. Never more so than on ‘Walk with me’, the purest collaboration on show: just the two of them, she her own choir and he a pulsing sun of beats. Pertout is at all times the foundation, however unobtrusively so. He’s like the tortoise supporting the world: and the infinite number of tortoises below as well.

So it’s fitting that to close the album there’s a track that sparely showcases him on the cajon, (that’s that thing that looks like a tea chest, in case you’re wondering) along with Chindamo at his bassgrace best, and Dassenaike at her most carefree. Strangely, for an album centred on a percussionist and a singer, there’s restraint everywhere, and it won’t reach out to the other side of the room and grab you in. Playing it louder isn’t the point, but as soon as the headphones go in and all the timbres and textures of the music can be heard, it’s a lovely experience. Like a dark star, once you get close enough, you’re lost. Enjoy the ride: there’s more light inside than out.


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Moments In Time
Review by KC
Popular Percussionist (Canada)
September 15, 2012

In the vast stratosphere of recorded music, percussionist led albums are a rarity. Even rarer still are duo albums which feature a percussionist and likely the most rare of all is a duo comprised of a percussionist and a vocalist. That being said, it’s difficult to determine where the bar is set for such adventurous work. With ' Moments In Time', the inaugural release from percussionist Alex Pertout and vocalist Nilusha Dassenaike, this unique duo proves that if it wasn’t set high before, the bar is indeed set very high now.

The album begins with the title track, ' Moments In Time', an original composition by Pertout with lyrics by Nilusha. It’s a gentle 6/8 which is lightly propelled by Pertout’s fine shekere and conga work. Nilusha’s unique vocal style is evident from the outset here, a slightly behind the beat, relaxing and lingering style, which bodes well for all the selections on the album. The title track serves very well to set the tone for the entire album.

The second track is the classic ' Waters Of March' by Antonio Carlos Jobim. Tastefully done, Pertout
displays his excellent ability for creating colours here, which adds additional life to the music. 'Afro Blue', the releases third cut is of course the classic Mongo Santamaria composition. This arrangement features the lyrics written by Oscar Brown originally recorded by Abbey Lincoln. Nilusha’s vocals on this particular track are simply hypnotic following an elegant flugelhorn solo by Miroslav Bukovsky.

Pertout has spared no instrument from his arsenal on this release. The beautifully conceived arrangement of James Taylor’s 'You Can Close Your Eyes' is a prime example featuring a simplistic berimbau and cajon. Often an obscure instrument such as the berimbau can be a distraction within a tune, drawing the listener towards it, making it the focal point of the music. However, in the absence of any other instruments aside from the piano stylings of Joe Chindamo, Pertout’s rhythmic mastery of the berimbau coupled with his emphasis of the beat with the cajon firmly holds the foundation of the arrangement without drawing attention from the melody.

The closest the album ever gets to high gear is the Clare Fischer composed cha cha, 'Morning'. Here, special guest, flautist extraordinaire, Dave Valentin is featured. Valentin as usual is stellar as is the tasteful conga solo by Pertout. Nilusha’s ability for vocal acrobatics are exercised on this track as well, once again showcasing her unique individuality as a vocalist. The true beauty of this release is the interplay between all of the musicians. There’s an overall subtlety. There’s real respect for each other as musicians here and their musical space that can be heard throughout. Everyone complements each other without ever stepping in the way. 'Moments In Time' is an album to be savoured. It beckons to be enjoyed over and over where one discovers new nuances with every listen.


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From The Heart

Review by Warwick McFadyen
The Sunday Age
21 October 2001

Unless you have lived in a hollow log for the past two decades, you have heard the music of Melbourne based Alex Pertout, but you may not have known it. Pertout is a percussionist, and the profile of a percussionist is but a tinkle of the triangle compare to more upfront performers. Which is a pity. Musicality is musicality whatever the instrument and on From The Heart (which he composed and arranged) Pertout has it dripping from his sticks. His ability is known worldwide, his credits for albums, soundtracks, tv shows are impressive, as is the list of people with whom he has played.

On this cd he has gathered quite a crop. The opening two tracks features quite different solos from guitarists Tommy Emmanuel and Mike Stern. Emmanuel going on high attack on his acoustic and Stern gliding effortlessly on electric. The ensemble playing of the composition, best described as jazz fusion, is fluid yet disciplined. Pat Metheny's trademark use of voice to complement the melody is in evidence on the opening track Salvador. The number of instruments Pertout plays is quite astonishing, from the bombo and surdo (South American drums) to the bodhran and maracas. An accomplished piece of work.



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From The Heart
Review by Bryan Patterson
Herald Sun
2 February 2003

★★★★
In Short: Outstanding!
Never heard Pertout’s music? You probably have many times without realizing it. His percussion has given rhythmic depth to some of the best Australian soundtracks, and have been heard on albums by artists as diverse as the Australian Art Orchestra and Powderfinger. This album of outstanding work reveals Chilean born Pertout warmly embracing a panoply of musical influences. The percussionist is joined by like minded souls including guitarist Tommy Emmanuel, bassist Jeremy Alsop, pianists Paul Grabowsky, Mark Levine and Joe Chindamo, and singers Cecilia Pertout and Christine Sullivan. The journey walks us through cool jazz nights, lush South American forests and gives an occasional gentle nod to the East. The genius of Pertout is that he works on the less is more principle, the groove is all important.


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From The Heart

Review by Don Zulaica
Alternate Music Press (USA)
The Multimedia Journal of New Music
July 2002

Chilean-born percussionist Alex Pertout may not be a household name for many of you-and if that's the case, for shame! But seriously, the Australian-based rhythmic colorist has probably crossed your path at one point or another. Whether it's been soundtrack or TV work, or working with the likes of the Australian Art Orchestra, Olivia Newton-John, Powderfinger or the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the resume is substantial. And From The Heart's infectious, serene moods are substantial as well, no doubt the product of considerable depth from not only Pertout, but the many fabulous guests throughout. Mike Stern's (Miles Davis) clean guitar tone feels like a relaxing drink with a friend on the title track, and keyboardist Tom Coster (Vital Information, Santana) peppers up the jovial Notable Encounter.

Other noteworthy guests include pianist Mark Levine (Cal Tjader, Poncho Sanchez), keyboardist Joe Chindamo (Billy Cobham), drummer Darryn Farrugia, vocalists Leonardo Salvo, Kavisha Mazzella, Christine Sullivan, and Steve Wade, and percussionists Hossam Ramzy (Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page), and Santana's Raul Rekow who dishes out an igneous solo on El Baile. Pertout? He does everything, from the obvious multiple percussives (he is Head of the Improvisation Department at the Victorian College of the Arts), to the fact that he composed and arranged all of the tunes, and produced and co-engineered the album. A lot of musicians try to make Latin-infused discs like this, but it takes a certain kind of soul to really do it right. This may take a few extra mouse clicks to order, but it's so worth it.


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From The Heart

Terry Reimer
World Percussion & Rhythm (USA)
Volume IV - Issue 4
Fall 2002

Australian percussionist Alex Pertout presents ten original compositions in his new release, featuring music From The Heart. He plays congas, timbales, surdo, tamborims, repiniques, tom tom, triangle, snare drum, wind chimes, vibes, marimba,glockenspiel and more. And he features almost 30 superstar percussionists from Santana, Miles Davis, Cal Tjader, Poncho Sanchez, Billy Cobham and Peter Gabriel's groups among others. This is a lovely and joyful work that conveys a wide range of emotions and textures from Latino to operatic. It is technically superb, piano, voice, guitar, fender rhodes, flugelhorn, flute, harp, accordion and other instruments blend well with Pertout's superb arrangements.


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From The Heart

Review by Luciano Scaglio
Drumscene Magazine
Issue 29 - May 2002

From The Heart is the latest offering by one trully outstanding percussionist and composer Alex Pertout, who also arranged and produced the cd.  From The Heart is his long awaited second cd. It features ten of Alex's original compositions and a stellar cast of local and international artists including Mike Stern (check out his guitar solo in the title track), Tom Coster, Kavisha Mazzella, Hossamn Ramzy, Tommy Emmanuel, Paul Grabowsky, Darryn Farrugia and David Jones among others. This cd as the title would suggest, features some very emotive music, obviously inspired by sources close to Alex's heart, that combined with masterful playing by awesome players and a great track list should convince you to get this cd, notwithstanding a listen to any of the tracks will! Outstanding! A must have!

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From The Heart

Review by Christie Elizier
Australian Musician
Spring 2001

Almost thirty guests including legendary keyboardist Tom Coster join this Melbourne based master percussionist to create some lovely if subdued textures that range from latino to operatic. Impressive about this is the way he fuses the two disciplines of technique with emotion, the music taking its time to say what it needs to. Salvador and Friendship in particular are beautiful with Pertout in control of their many moods.


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From The Heart

Review by Victor Rendon
Latin Percussionist Magazine (USA)
Winter 2001-2002

Alex Pertout was born in Santiago, Chile, lived in ltaly and settled in Australia in 1972. A graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts in 1983, Alex has studied Latin percussion in addition to jazz vibes, orchestral percussion, piano, and composition as well. From The Heart features ten of his original compositions with too many musicians to list. However, some of them are Mike Stem (guitar), Tom Coster (keyboards and accordion), Mark Levine (piano), Raul Rekow (congas), Darryn Farrugia drums) and David Jones (drums ). You can hear Alex’s percussive versatility in his performance of Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and South American styles and also synthesizers, fender Rhodes, marimba, vibes, and a large assortment of ethnic percussion. This is a fine cd that conveys a wide range of emotion from serenity to rejoice with some excellent compositions. 


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From The Heart

Review by Adrian Jackson
Rhythms Magazine
October 2002

Percussion maestro Alex Pertout has assembled an all-star cast to help him realise his vision for this, his second album of original compositions. They include singers Christine Sullivan, Kavisha Mazzella, Steve Wade, Leo Salvo and Cecilia Pertout; guitarists Mike Stern (ex-Miles Davis), Tommy Emmanuel and Matt Kirsch; keyboardists Tom Coster (ex-Santana), Paul Grabowsky, Colin Hopkins, Joe Chindamo and Mark Levine (ex-Cal Tjader); drummers David Jones and Darryn Farrugia and bassists Craig Newman and Ben Robertson. As always with Pertout, he does not command the spotlight, but provides a vital ingredient with his tasteful and creative use of percussion instruments (hand drums, shakers, berimbau, mallets, etc) for colour and texture, as well as rhythmic impetus. The sum total is carefully crafted, richly melodic and very accessible music, which combines jazz, fusion and Latin elements into a seamless whole.


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Lusambo
Review by Mike Daly
The Age Green Guide
10 June 1993

Mention the name Alex Pertout to most people and they are most likely to ask: "Alex who?", yet this Chilean born percussionist (he arrived in Melbourne two decades ago, via Italy) must have made an impact on everyone at some time or other through his extensive performances on record, stage and screen. A musician's musician and a teacher, Pertout has played with an amazing array of major Australian pop, folk, jazz and classical artists. All of this is channelled into his self-titled solo album, a melting pot of influences on which a core group of Bob Venier (flugelhorn and trumpet), guitarist Mario Genovese, bassist Michael Matthews and drummer Virgil Donati backs Pertout's multiple percussion sounds and keyboards.

There are a few guest performers, such as John Barrett on reeds and woodwind, Colin Hopkins (keyboards and trumpet), Alejandro Vargas on zamponas (Andean flute) and several vocalists, although this is a mainly instrumental recording. The music mostly spans the tasteful Latin jazz-fusion mainstream, typified by the cool, opening Aurora and spicier, Cal Tjader tribute One For Cal (starring Venier and Hopkins, respectively). Highlights include the atmospheric Recuerdos de Los Andes, on which the wordless vocals of Cecilia, Alex's mother, are blended with multiple mallets and synthesisers, and Everything to Me, a romantic pop ballad with lead vocals by Linda George (who also wrote the sleeve notes). My favorites are the four all-Pertout tracks, especially I Will Always Love You, with their gently throbbing rhythmic pattern of natural percussion overlaid by synths (reminiscent of the Pat Metheny-Lyle Mays approach), and the final, reflective duet between Pertout's piano and Genovese's acoustic guitar, For Carlos, dedicated to another strong influence, Carlos Santana.


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Lusambo
Review by Michael Foster
The Canberra Times Arts & Entertainment
11 July 1993

Pertout came to Australia from Chile, via ltaly and studied here. Now he is making his music here, composing, playing, producing and mixing an album that is sometimes gently, provocative, and always entertaining.  Pertout's talents are evident in the extent of, if you like. academic and technical skills. But the force of his energy is essential to his music. He plays instruments ranging from simple shakers, through a variety of bells and containers seeded, skinned and struck. to glockenspiel, vibes and synthesisers. Many are played on the solo tracks, Tomorrow is Here, a title which offers many interpretations, I Will Always Love You, in which he adds talking drums, wind gong and hand claps, Boyce's Flight and Giorno di Nozze.  Then, on For Carlos he plays piano with Mario Genovese on guitar. They collaborated on this tune, the only one not Pertout's very own.

In seven other compositions he uses talented musicians to texture his music with a variety of brass, reeds, winds and/or keyboards, to emphasise, even accentuate, its personality, character, texturt or direction. Further evidence of his diversity is recited by Linda George in her album notes. It is no wonder that he has taken so long to issue his first album. Inded it is surprising that he has got round to it at all. Oh, and he also Iectures and teaches.  We have all heard his music without knowing it. Now we can acknowledge, enjoy, and wonder at it all.


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Lusambo
Review by Terry Reilly
Beat Magazine
22 September 1993

There is a very strong sense of assuredness about Alex Pertout's debut, self-titled set. After session work on countless albums, the Chilean born percussionist puts together a small, intricate combo and plays the music from
his heart. It's placid and laden with subtle nuances that any intelligent fusion of jazz and Latin American music can muster.  I'm not talking about New Age music but it has that effect. Take Tomorrow Is Here, for example: put it with a video of a cascading waterfall in slow-motion splashing its content onto rocks surrounded by dripping ferns and you have that wonderful soothing effect that nurtures the soul. Following that for contrast, I was taken by the lively Lusambo (Six-Eight) that affords the percussionist to try out a number of effects on six instruments but simultaneously laying a rich bass for Mario Genovese's flowing guitar and Michael Matthews' delicately throbbing bass.

There's a feeling of freedom just listening to Alex Pertout. I Will Always Love You, shuffling at mid-tempo, is his solo masterpiece. The synthesiser breezes over the subtle bank of percussion and once more it conjures up pictures from your own imagination.  Ignoring the title, I can see a hand-crafted kite coursing its loping way against an aqua blue sky. But this is Pertout's strength. His music is picturesque. For Carlos, his acknowledgment of guitarist Carlos Santana, the pictures reel forward.  But it's Genovese' guitar that takes the honours. Piano and guitar are a delicately beautiful combination in this instance. It feel were assessable by numbers, For Carlos would be a perfect score. Alex Pertout is cerebrally appealing. There are qualities that unfold more clearly with repeated playing and because it is something different, something unpredictable and spontaneously uplifting, it demands to be heard (9/10).


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Lusambo
Review by Peter Familari
Herald Sun The Guide
1 December 1993

Pertout Puts Out Solo Gem
Most heavyweight Australian musicians know the work of percussionist Alex Pertout.  They should, because he has worked on albums for John Farnham, Daryl Braithwaite, Kate Ceberano, James Reyne, Hunters and Collectors and other big leaguers.  The multi-talented Pertout has now released an album on the Larrikin label which was engineered at Richrnond's Metropolis studio. There are 12 foot-tapping tracks featuring Pertout playing congas, shaker, agogo bells, triangle, pandeiro, cuica, surdo, cabasa, percusion, vibes, synthesisers and other exotic instruments. 

The mixture is a diversity of styles naturally recorded by Metropolis.  The result is an example of music that escapes well-worn generic tags such as rock, jazz and blues.  What you do get is a crystal clear recording of good original music that tells you something different about the hi-fi system you play it through.  If you find yourself reaching for the eject button on a system playing this album, find one that doesn't intrude its own character between you and the music.  When you do, go to track five called I Will Alvays Love You where the musicians seem to be playing in a vast acoustic space. If the hi-fi is a good one it should give the impression that the studio wall is 30 metres behind the musicians and the ceiling nearly as high.


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Lusambo
Review by Steve Waldon
The Age Entertainment Guide
19 March 1993

Highly regarded Melbourne musician Alex Pertout makes a worthy attempt to conquer a common problem, how to capture the percussionist's expertise on record. Born in Chile in 1959, Pertout graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 1983 with distinctions in performance and composition. His credits on television, film soundtracks, live concerts and studio recordings are so numerous that, were each of the people Pertout has played for to run out and buy this album tomorrow, he would probably crack the top 10.  Pertout employs congas, shakers, bells, vibes, marimba and a host of other percussion to adorn a collection of tunes that work hard to break out of the nice background music mould. Mostly, he is successful. Linda George adds a quirky vocal to Everything To Me and, in keeping with Pertout's determination to provide versatility, his mother, Cecilia, lends her clear soprano to Recuerdos De Los Andes. Pertout, striving for excellence, visits all the styles on which his percussion can shine through. 


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Lusambo
Review by Greg Phillips
Juke
20 March 1993

Pertout Walks The Beat
The Melbourne based percussionist steps out into the spotlight with his own album. Now it must be said from the outset that Pro Juke doesn't make a habit of singling out particular album releases. However, far too much quality music goes unnoticed in this country. The situation is certainly not helped by the restrictive formats of commercial radio and television. The public radio stations that support the few specialist music programs do so sometimes in the most inconvenient and erratic time slots.Over 40,000 people recently paid good money to attend Womadelalde, essentially to see the import acts like Salif Kelta, Sheila Chandra, The Mahotella Queens and of course Peter Gabriel. What many people fall to realise is that the same fine eclectic mix can be found in the streets of Australia. These are not good playing conditions for an artist like Chilean-born percussionist Alex Pertout who's based in Melbourne. Especially when he is trying to gain public recognition for his excellent new self titled debut album that contains no so-called radio friendly hits.

After leaving his birthplace of Chile in the early seventies the Pertout family settled in Australia. Since then Alex has contributed percussion to over seventy albums and has worked with such notables as The Black Sorrows, LRB, Hunters and Collectors, John Farnham, Olivia Newton John, Archie Roach, Vince Jones and heaps more. So it's with this commendable background in mind that the ever-adventurous Larrikin Records invested time and effort in the release of Alex Pertout's debut self-titled solo album. Alex has created a wonderful montage of surreal and atmospheric moods that conjure images of the lofty cloud surrounded Andes of his homeland.  Of the twelve self produced tunes, nowhere is his Chilean heritage more obvious than on the haunting Recuerdos De Los Andes which features the chilling soprano voice of his mother, Cecilia. Other notable contributors to the project include Lindsay Field, Linda George and Penny Dyer on backing vocals. The family tie also continues with the aid of his brother (and Pro Juke contributor) Adrian on synthesizer on one track. 

Like most creative percussionists, Alex subscribes to the ideal that "if you can hit it, you can get a beat out of it!" On the album the hardware includes such exotic items as agogo bells, pandeiro, surdo, cabasa, berimbaus, caxixis, shekere, cajon, reque and sleigh bells. Witness the beauty and majesty of a tune like I Will Always Love You on which Alex plays all instruments and I'll defy anyone to suggest that Pertout is nothing short of a world class quality talent.  The production is lush, the result is rnelodic and romantic without being cornball. This Is serious music for the discerning ear. Unfortunately due to current circumstances this album won't come to you, you'll have to seek it out for yourself.


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Lusambo
Review by Brian Wise
Rhythms Magazine
March 1993

Remember last year we told you about the Joe Creighton cd Holy Well and named it as one of our favouritc recordings of the year.  Well another gem has come our way.  Alex Pertout, the percussionist on Creighton's cd and in his band, has his own self-titled recording out through Larrikin this month. Pertout's credentials are impeccable:  Joe Camilleri & The Black Sorrows, Hunters & Collectors, Stephen Cummings, Kate Ceberano, Ross Wilson, Mark Gillespie, Paul Grabowsky (to name a few). Alex's self-titled release features twelve original compositions with some supremely elegant playing. The cd is a delight, look out for it.


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Lusambo
Review by John Shand
Jazz 'N' Blues
May 1995

Chilean-born Pertout has long been one of Australia's leading percussionists. He combines the ability to bring an extremely sophisticated sense of orchestration to bear, with an innate sense of how to make the music feel good. He flatters most contexts in which he performs, and his own debut album is no exception. At its best, this music drifts somewhere between his Chilean roots and Brian Eno-like ambience, as on the haunting Recuerdos de los Andes, and two of the tracks where a multi-tracked Pertout performs 'solo Tomorrow Is Here and I Will Always Love You. The pleasant compositions are all Pertout's, who is prominent in the mix and regularly featured without becoming overbearing. Try it. 


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Lusambo
Review by Rod Whinett-Smith
Sunday Examiner
1 August 1993

Alex Pertout (Larrikin) is largely a collection of cool latin jazz tunes from Chilean-born Pertout, one of Australia's most accomplished session percussionists. In many ways the is an album of background dinner music from a talented multi-instrumentalist who's played with Hunters and Collectors, Ross Wilson, Redgum, Nick Barker and LRB, among others. Recuerdo De Los Andes, featuring Pertout's soprano-voiced mother on vocals and pandean flutes, is haunting, the standout track. On Boyce's Flight Pertout is a one-man show, handling all musical duties while Everything To Me finds him take a back seat in a more traditional band situation.


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Lusambo
Review by Emma Dunch
Melbourne Agenda
19 July 1993

Daryl Braithwaite, Kate Ceberano and John Farnham are just some of his credits. On his debut album, percussionist Alex Pertout shows us why. After years of playing second fiddle to Australia's leading recording artists, Pertout finally gets his turn in the spotlight with this album. And he does a great job, playing over twenty-five different instruments with verve and passion. The feel is Latin American, the style: silky smooth, the result: fantastic!


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Lusambo
Review by Calvin Winetroube
Skin Full
March 1993

Many of you will be familiar with the work of composer, percussionist Alex Pertout through his extensive work with artists and bands all around Australia. His list of credits reads like a 'who's who' of the music industry. Now, released in February, his debut album Alex Pertourt featuring twelve original compositions. There are many influences showing through, from early Sergio Mendes, to Bob James on some of his Heads albums, the opening track with Bob Venier on flugelhorn and trumpet could be mistaken for a track from a Wynton Marsalis album. In fact these are all compositions written and arranged by Alex Pertout (with the exception of For Carlos co-written with guitarist Mario Genovese) and performed with some of the finest musicians around, Virgil Donati playing tastefully subdued drums on a couple of tracks.

The album, as well as being extremely musical and easy to listen to, shows off the many talents of Alex Pertout. He plays at least a dozen different instruments including vibes, marimba and synths, as well as being involved with the mixing, engineering and producing the whole album. Self produced albums are never an easy exercise with all the financial problems on top of all the actual musical and technical problems that are bound to arise. The 'up side' of that proposition however, is that when it all comes together there's a great deal of satisfaction to be derived from the final product. At this moment Alex Pertout should be very satisfied with his first solo album which comes together as an excellent package both musically and with its presentation. Distributed by Larrikin and very well worth a listen.


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Lusambo
Sound & Image
September-October 1993


Smooth competent AOR instrumental album from a master session musician.
Playing Time=  53:13


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Sight Reading: The Rhythm Book
Review by Victor Rendon
Latin Percussionist Magazine (USA)
Fall 1999


This is a graded book for instrumentalists and vocalists designed to develop sight reading and rhythmical skills. It was developed by Alex Pertout, performer, composer and educator in Australia. The book is laid out in twenty-two lessons starting with whole notes. Each lesson progressively adds another note value until all values are covered including their equivalent rest value. One of the problems facing the beginner reader is the ability to count at a steady tempo. Alex aids this problem by providing the counting numbers at the beginning of each exercise.  It is an excellent teaching tool for the novice. It can also serve as supplementary sight reading material for the more experienced student. The biggest advantage to the book is its lay out, easy in reading, and logical sequence. My advice, if you are serious about reading, buy it. It is worth every cent!



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Sight Reading: The Rhythm Book
Review by Terry Reimer
World Percussion & Rhythm (USA)
Volume IV - Issue 4
Fall 2002

Alex Pertout is one of Australia's leading percussionists and has credits on hundreds of albums. He has also toured Europe and Asia, recorded for films and television, led a number of ensembles and conducted master classes and workshops. Sight Reading: The Rhythm Book was designed to develop sight-reading and rhythmical skills for beginning or advanced instrumentalists and vocalists by presenting a course of progressive lessons and studies specifically aimed at these areas. Three sections present detailed exercises in progressively more difficult areas. At 78 pages, there is plenty to learn. There are even suggestions for teachers in the classroom to try activities, homework, tests and exams and other possibilities.


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