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I was born in Harlem, New York. 136 Street and Amsterdam Avenue. I was baptized at
Church of the Annunciation, 88Convent Avenue, New York, NY My mother was of Cuban Irish decent, a housewife; my Puerto Rican father was a machinist, played congas and guitar in the Navy Big Band. Drawn to music and art from an early age, it was said, that by age four, I would hear a song once and be able to recite the lyrics and melody. I attended High School of Art and Design at the age of 12 and majored in photography. Though photography was my first impulse towards self expression, I later focused my energy on vocals as a form of communication.
At the age of 17 I moved to Los Angeles where I worked within the Art and Design world and began my fascination and long romance with jazz.
I worked for Cannon films and was being exposed to the Art Director's taste in music. Lucky for me it was Coltrane and Parker. I began to seek out other jazz artists. I fell in love with the likes of Bill Evans, Charles Mingus, the cool of Anita O’day Shirley Horn, Chet Baker, Annie Ross and Lambert, Hendricks & Ross combo was a real treat when I stumbled across it. ''Come on home'' and ''Home cookin', till these days I adore those tunes. Then hearing the amazing Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone was the final step in the decision to leave the visual world behind and focus on jazz vocal.
It was when I moved to Europe that I made a conscious decision to focus on a verbal form of communication. I did not have a formal musical education, I did take classes at various schools and conservatories, but I also had many lessons from the jazz artists that stayed at my house like Curtis Clark, Anita Wardell, Jan Ponsford and Randy Greer.
I became a regular figure at Amsterdam's Bimhuis.When applying to be a member of the Bimhuis I was asked .How long have you been involved in improvisatiemuziek.. My response was ‘’6 months after I was born I was placed into a foster home, I have been improvising since then.’’ Establishing my reputation, I ran a weekly session there for a spell and I was lucky to appear at festivals on stages across Europe.
After a ten year stay in Europe I returned to New York, my home and I have produced two sessions entitled Seventh Avenue South and Sunday Sketches both out on Timeless Records a Dutch label. Each recording has some hip standards as well as original tunes on them.
My third session its Happenin will be out in April 2008 on ZOHO RECORDS with David Hazeltine, Joe Farnsworth, Nat Reeves, Steve Davis, Ron Horton and Jed Levy.
I feel very fortunate to have Bertha Hope as my mentor. I am very much focused on the art of jazz, and focused on the art of communication and portraying musical moments, that will move and touch listeners who have a craving for this great movement called JAZZ. For booking inquiries: email@example.com Website www.perezjazz.com at Jazzcorner