Touring party: 4
Territory: Exclusive for Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg
Availability: May + June + November 2012
Danilo Perez (piano), Ben Street (bass) and Adam Cruz (drums)
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.
A seamless melding of styles is evident on the lengthy opener "Daniela's Chronicles," a piece written for Pérez's eldest daughter that progresses through five buoyant movements. With a subdued undercurrent of rhythmic intensity, Pérez leads his band through the music with commanding control of the piano. Alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa brings a flurry of energy to "Galactic Panama," tossing solo lines back and forth with Pérez over an insatiable Latin-inspired groove, augmented by percussionists Jamey Haddad and Ernesto Diaz. Mahanthappa appears toward the end of the disc on "The Maze," a duet with Pérez in two parts. Here, the saxophonist is able to balance a harsh urgency with breathy lyricism.
Portugese-born, New York-based singer Sara Serpa, who specializes in wordless vocalizing, brings out the melodic strength in Pérez's writing. She floats effortlessly through the challenging theme of the title track. One of the more enticing tracks on the disc, Pérez takes advantage of the tune's melodic repetition to apply a countering barrage of piano showmanship. Another enduring moment from the session comes with the tender ballad "Irremediablemente Solo," composed by Panamanian composer Avelino Muñoz. The piece features the trio with bassist Street taking up the pensive melody with conviction.
As an organizer of the annual Panama Jazz Festival and the Fundación Danilo Pérez, an organization offering musical and cultural opportunities to disadvantaged youth, Pérez has become a musical ambassador for his native country. Homage to Panama is evident throughout Providencia, especially on the two-part "Bridge of Life," orchestrated for woodwind quintet and trio. The title refers to Panama's role as a land bridge between North and South America. With this disc, Pérez succeeds at creating a musical bridge between the intricate and visceral, inviting all listeners interested in forward thinking sounds.
Mack Avenue Records 2010
Published by All About Jazz – John Barron
About Danilo Perez
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.