Danilo Pérez: PanaMonk Revisited
Date: 7:30pm PDT October 10, 2017 Location: Evans Hall
Pianist, composer, educator and social activist, Danilo Pérez is among the most influential and dynamic musicians of our time. Born in Panama in 1965, Pérez started his musical studies when he was three years old with his father, a bandleader and singer. By age 10, he was studying the European classical piano repertoire at the National Conservatory in Panama and subsequently studied jazz composition at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. While still a student, he performed with Jon Hendricks, Terence Blanchard, Slide Hampton, Claudio Roditi and Paquito D’Rivera. Quickly established as a young master, he soon toured and/or recorded with artists such as Dizzy Gillespie United Nations Orchestra, Jack DeJohnette, Steve Lacy, Lee Konitz, Charlie Haden, Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano, Tito Puente, Wynton Marsalis, Tom Harrell, Gary Burton, and Roy Haynes. In 2000, Danilo joined Wayne Shorter, to form Shorter’s great quartet with John Patitucci and Brian Blade.
Pérez has also earned a wealth of accolades leading his own ensembles and recording projects, earning Grammy® and Latin Grammy® nominations for Central Avenue (1989), Motherland (2000), Across The Crystal Sea (2008), and Providencia (2010). As a composer, he has been commissioned by Carnegie Hall, The Lincoln Center, Chicago Jazz Festival and Imani Winds Quintet among others. Pérez has also served as Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF, has received a variety of awards for his musical achievements, activism and social work efforts. He currently serves as UNESCO Artist for Peace, Cultural Ambassador to the Republic of Panama, Founder and Artistic Director of the Panama Jazz Festival, and Artistic Director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute in Boston’s Berklee College of Music.
Pérez’s PanaMonk project is based off his 1996 recording of the same name which was deemed by DownBeat Magazine as one of the most important albums in piano jazz history. It tells the story of just one of many bright young musicians who’ve mastered the framework handed down by Thelonious Monk and stretched it to fit their needs. In addition, it’s one of several recent harbingers of a new, modern telling of the Latin-jazz story – in this case, focusing on Pérez’s Panamanian heritage.
“Danilo Perez is a man with some serious jazz cred… As a composer and bandleader himself, he’s practically peerless.” – NPR