Faculty Pianist Danilo Perez Releases New Disc
The Panama Suite, a sprawling, earthy work for big band by Grammy-winning pianist and composer Danilo Perez, has just been released on the ArtistShare label. Composed in celebration of his native Panama, the new recording will also be available for sale at the Panama Jazz Festival, which Perez founded in 2003. All proceeds of the recording and the festival, which takes place January 21 to 26 in Panama City, go to the Danilo Perez Foundation to provide a wide range of education programs in Panama.
Combining urban sounds and Panamanian folkloric elements in a big band setting, the 15-minute work is divided into three movements: Awakening/El Despertar; The Quest/La Busqueda; and The Celebration/Quiero Amanecer. Ambitious, rousing, and fun, it summons images of the country' s spectacular geography, and pulls the listener into the center of an all-night street party.
The piece received its radio premiere on New Year's Eve as part of a wild, live performance on NPR's Toast of the Nation international radio broadcast. The broadcast can be heard on the new NPR Music site. It will also be broadcast throughout Latin America later this month on the Voice of America.
Danilo Perez, Panamanian-born jazz pianist/composer, is both a Grammy winner and a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. A 1988 Berklee graduate in jazz composition, Perez has led his own bands to worldwide critical and popular acclaim while collaborating with some of the greatest musicians of our time, including Dizzy Gillespie, Wayne Shorter, Roy Haynes, Tito Puente, and Steve Lacy, to name a few.
With Berklee's support, Perez selected a big band composed of Berklee and New England Conservatory students and faculty to record this new piece, commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Panama Jazz Festival.
All proceeds from The Panama Suite CD support the Danilo Perez Foundation, which funds Perez's music education projects for youth in Panama-programs that have already made it possible for top Panamanian youngsters to attend Berklee. The Suite is available from ArtistShare as either a CD or an MP3 download.
The Panama Suite was composed and directed by Danilo Perez, and recorded and mixed at Berklee College of Music by Rob Jaczko, chair of the college's Music Production and Engineering department. Billy Herron is the producer, and Berklee College of Music is the executive producer.
- Panama Jazz Festival 2008
- Apply for a scholarship audition
- Danilo Perez's "Panama Suite" live on New Year's, on NPR broadcast
- Listen to the Concert (NPR Music archives)
- SDRB #12, the video podcast of Ruben Blades. In this episode he talks with Danilo Perez about his Jazz Festival, and tells the story of Jahaziel Arrocha. (part 1)
- SDRB #13, the video podcast of Ruben Blades. In part 2 of his conversation with Danilo, they talk about jazz bands featured in Ruben's Show including Natalie Fernandes, Zaccai and Luques Curtis from Berklee. (part 2)