Danilo Pérez

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Danilo Perez)
Jump to: navigation, search
Danilo Pérez
Danilo perez panama jazz fest 2012.jpg
Background information
Born (1965-12-29) 29 December 1965 (age 50)
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Piano
Labels Novus, Impulse!, GRP, Verve, ArtistShare, Concord, EmArcy, Mack Avenue
Website www.daniloperez.com

Danilo Pérez (born 29 December 1965) is a Panamanian pianist and composer.

Early life[edit]

Danilo Pérez was born in Panama in 1965. When he was three, he started his musical education with his father, a singer and bandleader. By the time he was ten, he was studying classical piano at the National Conservatory in Panama. He transferred to the Berklee College of Music in Boston to study jazz.[1] Then he worked as a professor at the New England Conservatory of Music. While growing up in Panama, Perez was influenced by George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk.

Recording as leader[edit]

In 1994, Perez recorded The Journey, a musical account of the trip African slaves made across the ocean. The album made it to the top ten jazz lists of New York's Village Voice, The New York Times, Billboard magazine, and the Boston Globe. It also allowed Perez to become a recognizable name in the jazz community. Perez set up the album as a dream series tracing the route of slaves, stolen or sold from their homes and transported across the sea. The Journey begins with "The Capture", makes it way through "The Taking", "Chains", The Voyage", and finishes with "Libre Spiritus". Saxophonist David Sanchez and percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo play on the album, which was recorded in two days at the Power Station in New York City.

On his third album, PanaMonk, Perez paid tribute to Thelonious Monk as well as all the other musicians he had been in contact with up to that point. An almost entirely wordless album, PanaMonk lets the music speak for itself. Perez told JazzTimes magazine, "His (Monk's) music was the epitome of small group playing, the epitome of jazz music. If you really want to know about jazz and swing, he's one of the best to go to."[citation needed]

In 1998 Central Avenue, Perez's fourth album, received a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Album of the Year. Central Avenue is a blend of blues, folk, and Caribbean and Middle Eastern influences. It was produced by Tommy LiPuma, who worked with Perez on PanaMonk. Perez arranged the ensemble of bassists John Patitucci and Avishai Cohen, and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts. The songs were done in one take, except for "Panama Blues". For this song, Perez recorded Raul Vital, a Panamanian folk singer, and a chorus of mejorana singers in Panama, then returned with the recording to New York City, where the ensemble contributed. Mejorana is an improvisational style of singing. Perez told Graybow of Billboard, "[I heard] the blues in their voices, much like the blues down in Mississippi," and instantly wanted to record them.


At Berklee in the 1980s, Perez played with Terence Blanchard, Paquito D'Rivera, Jon Hendricks, and Claudio Roditi. In 1995, he toured Poland with Wynton Marsalis. For the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Perez and Marsalis played together again. Perez performed as a special guest at President Clinton's Inaugural Ball, played the piano on the Bill Cosby theme song, and participated in the Grammy-winning album, Danzon.

In 2000, Danilo joined Wayne Shorter in a quartet with John Patitucci and Brian Blade. Perez has played concerts with the group extensively since then, and appears on all four of the recordings Shorter has made during this period: Footprints Live! (2002), Alegría (2003), Beyond the Sound Barrier (2005), and Without a Net (2013).

He has also played with Jack DeJohnette, Charlie Haden, Sibongile Khumalo, Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano, Tito Puente, Gerardo Núñez, Tom Harrell, Gary Burton, Wayne Shorter, Roy Haynes, Steve Lacy, Ben Street, and Adam Cruz.

Perez performed with Dizzy Gillespie and his United Nations Orchestra from 1989 until the band leader's death in 1992. Perez states in a press report for the Independent that "one of the things Dizzy taught me was to learn about my own heritage even more than I knew already. He said it was more important for jazz for you to get to what your roots are, than to learn about other things". Perez assimilated the bebop and post-bop styles. He was also a member of the Grammy-winning record Live at the Royal Festival.

Perez was appointed artistic director of the Berklee College of Music Global Jazz Institute, a program for talented jazz students from around the world.[2][3]


  • 1993 Danilo Perez (Novus)
  • 1994 The Journey (Novus)
  • 1996 Panamonk (Impulse!/GRP)
  • 1998 Central Avenue (GRP)
  • 2000 The Roy Haynes Trio (Verve)
  • 2000 Motherland (Verve/PolyGram/Universal)
  • 2003 ...Till Then (Universal/Verve)
  • 2005 Live at the Jazz Showcase (ArtistShare)
  • 2006 Panama Suite (ArtistShare)
  • 2008 Across the Crystal Sea (Concord/EmArcy)
  • 2009 Music We Are (Kindred Rhythm)
  • 2010 Providencia (Mack Avenue)
  • 2014 Panama 500 (Mack Avenue)
  • 2015 Children of the Light (Mack Avenue)[4]

As sideman[edit]

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Wayne Shorter


  1. ^ Skelly, Richard. "Danilo Perez: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 7 March 2011. 
  2. ^ Balkin, Nick. "Danilo Perez Heads Berklee Global Jazz Institute". Berklee News. Berklee College of Music Office of Public Information. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  3. ^ Young, Bob (22 April 2011). "Berklee Global Jazz Institute Celebrates Successful First Year". Boston Herald. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "Danilo Pérez | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 

External links[edit]