Danilo Perez performs music from Providencia (Mack Avenue, 2010) at the 2010 Detroit International Jazz Festival, talks about his music and musical inspirations, the power of Panamanian music, and how alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa helps shape the sound of his new music.
Inspired by the wonderment and challenge of contributing to a healthy future for his two daughters, Panamanian pianist Danilo Pérez presents an eleven-track suite of globally conscious music, fusing elements of jazz, classical and Latin American folk music. Providencia, Pérez's debut for Mack Avenue Records, is an ambitious project, incorporating his longtime trio-mates, bassist Ben Street and drummer Adam Cruz, with an eclectic cast of guest musicians. The result is a genre-defying foray into highly-structured compositions heightened by intense improvising.
Danilo Perez is one of the most innovative and exciting jazz pianists on the scene. His latest Mack Avenue Records release Providencia is a suite he composed and wrote for his daughters. Its a fusion of world folk music including musical elements from his native Panama.
The Grammy-Award winner and critically acclaimed jazz pianist is one of the most highly sought after musician as well as leader. Perez, a classically trained pianist, was born in Panama and is the son of a musician and bandleader. By age ten, he was studying classical at the conservatory. He moved to the United States where he studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Upon graduation, Perez played and toured with his mentor Dizzy Gillespie in his United Nations Orchestra, where he was the youngest member. He went on to play with Jon Hendricks, Terence Blanchard, Arturo Sandoval, and Paquito D'Rivera among others.
One of his most important and musical partnerships is with the legendary Wayne Shorter, where he continues to tour and record.
Perez is currently the head of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, where musicians can study the various musical disciplines and earn a degree, a diploma, or a two year certificate at the university. He's also the Artistic Director of the Panama Jazz Festival and Artistic Adviser of the Mellon Jazz Up Close Series at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.