All About Jazz: June 3, 2014
Whether with his own ensembles or as a sideman, Danilo Perez has long been an iconic jazz pianist, but above and beyond his success as a performer and recording artist, he has become a manifestation and symbol of cross-cultural dialogue.
His music brings together mainstream and Latin influences in a unique way. He always brings something new into the mix, whether early on with Dizzy Gillespie, Jon Hendricks or Wynton Marsalis, his award-winning CD, Panamonk (Implulse, 1996), and more recently with the Wayne Shorter Quartet as well as his own groups featuring Brian Blade, John Patitucci, Ben Street, Adam Cruz, and others. His most recent recordings, Providencia (Mack Avenue, 2010) and Panama 500 (Mack Avenue, 2-14) are in homage to his home country of Panama, yet they incorporate elements of Cuba, straight ahead jazz, European impressionism, African, and other musical heritages.
Perez sees music as a multi-dimensional bridge among peoples. He has dedicated himself to making a better world through his efforts as an Artist For Peace with UNESCO, Artistic director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, the Panama Jazz Festival, the Danilo Perez Foundation, and other organizations. In everything he does, Perez is always seeking unity, meaning, healing, and the betterment of mankind. He is truly a musical innovator and humanitarian, as this interview illustrates.