2018: A Year In Food
In 2018, my gym coach assigned me to keep a food blog so he could track my meals. Through developing healthy eating habits to satisfy all of my nutritional needs and a rigorous exercise programme, I lost the 21 kg between January-August 2018 I'd gained on anti-depressants.
I wanted it to be somewhere more private rather than being shoved down people's throats (literally) through Instagram/WhatsApp. Hence I've posted my culinary creations here.
Being vegetarian and/or vegan always presents a challenge in terms of hitting the protein target so this was particularly the most interesting challenge for me.
I made a conscious decision to stop food blogging in 2019 (due to time restraints), but it's useful to have a year's diet documented as a reference and a source of inspiration!
Danilo Peréz was born in Panama, and started piano lessons at the age of three. Since then, he has studied and worked with the National Conservatory of Panama, Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory of Music, and is widely considered to be one of the finest jazz pianists around. I had the privilege of seeing him live at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, where he cooked up a melange of jazz and Latin improvisations, peppered with rhythms from his native Panama - a smoking, crackling, seething concoction of influences and flavours, alongside Ben Street on piano and Adam Cruz on drums.
I was most impressed by the integration of melody, harmony and rhythm within the different instruments of the jazz trio, each contributing an abundance of material, and coalescing into a perfect trio of shape. The melodic lines and phrases revolve liturgically, almost techtonically, around a core of tightly interlocking rhythms, with a virtuosity that reminds one of Eddie Palmieri or Michel Camilo, among whom Danilo Peréz cites as key influences.
His improvisations begin sparsely, developing from loose threads that flash by like flickers of consciousness, snaking and weaving their way through the rhythmic counterpoint. The momentum is controlled with tempering and fragmentation of clusters across space, complemented by percussive interjections. Sometimes, the trio locks into a cyclic refrain that builds up the excitements, ruptured by exploratory ribbons of texture and flavour.
There is an entire orchestra in his fingertips; in his sound, I hear block chords like the stabs from a brass section, occasionally giving way to the cycadelic, kaleidoscopic salsa octaves, underpinned by the rocksteady tumbao (syncopated bass line). The phrases and structures are not limited to four square patterns, the musicians effortlessly weave in and out of the beat, always moving together and reaching one anothers' conclusions. The rumba groove sometimes floats interchangeably into six-eight with the mastery of the batá tradition, whilst the melodic lines meander and build into heightened climactic moments.
Most of the compositions played tonight were new, and had never been played before, yet they were executed with the skill and finesse of a unit who had played them many times before. Overall, it was a thrilling and electrifying performance, transporting the listener through an array of sounds and sensations, and a nice cross-section of an artist at the height of his work yet encapsulated in a moment of continual flux.
Rory spent the first few years of his life in an ice cave, carving out his palace of wonder. He's a bit of a love doll, but he who melts the ice shall have their reward.