Danilo Perez and the BGJI at Scullers
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Scullers Jazz Club presents Danilo Pérez: Panama 500 CD Release Celebration.
Grammy Award winner Danilo Pérez is considered to be one of the most influential and dynamic musicians of modern times. Born in Panama in 1965, Pérez quickly established himself by touring and/or recording with jazz masters such as Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis, Lee Konitz, Roy Haynes, Michael Brecker, and more. In 2000, Pérez joined Wayne Shorter, to form Shorter's great quartet with John Patitucci and Brian Blade. Since 2003 he has been touring with regular trio featuring Ben Street and Adam Cruz. Pérez has served as cultural ambassador to the Republic of Panama and Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF. He currently serves as UNESCO Artist for Peace, founder and artistic director of the Panama Jazz Festival, and artistic director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute.
His latest project, Panama 500, is Pérez’s most ambitious project to date, the furthest evolution yet of what the pianist/composer calls “three-dimensional music.” His blend of influences makes him the ideal musical chronicler of his country’s history: already a land bridge between the Americas with a vibrant indigenous culture, Panama also began to absorb European culture into its own following Balboa’s arrival. Pérez similarly weaves together jazz and Pan-American folkloric traditions with influences from European classical music. “I have been working for years to make music that has an identity very similar to the role that Panama plays in the world,” Pérez says of the project. “It’s a place where a lot of influences from all over the world come together.” The Financial Times refers to the project as "a celebration of the historical diversity of Panama’s heritage with a firm touch and an epic reach."
Both nights feature Pérez’s longtime rhythm section comprised of bassist Ben Street and drummer Adam Cruz as well as violinist Alex Hargreaves and percussionist Roman Diaz. On Sunday, students from the Berklee Global Jazz Institute will open the concert for Pérez and his group. The BGJI students participating include guitarist Leandro Pellegrino from Brazil, harmonica player Roni Eytan from Israel, saxophonists Gustavo D’Amico from Brazil and Edmar Colon from Puerto Rico, pianist Takafumi Suenga from Japan, bassist Alex Gasser from Puerto Rico, and drummer Anthony Fung from Canada. Underlining the interconnective educational style of the BGJI experience, Sunday afternoon will feature a special introduction from David Carrasco of Harvard Divinity School, who also wrote the liner notes for the album.