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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 love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.