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Danilo Pérez in New Orleans

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Monday October 22, 2018

From The Louisiana Weekly

Mid-week welcomes back Jazz in the Park and the arrival of Danilo Perez
By: Geraldine Wyckoff

Danilo Perez, are world-renowned pianist as a leader, 18-year member of the remarkable Wayne Shorter Quartet, founder of the Panama Jazz Festival and Berklee Global Jazz Institute, arrives in New Orleans this week to perform Wednesday night, October 24, as part of UNO’s Jazz at the Sandbar series and Thursday, October 25, at Snug Harbor. Rather than coming down alone, the Panama-born, Grammy-winning composer, educator and social activist will bring down students from his Jazz Institute to play at both gigs.

“What I’m doing is providing an amazing platform where youth can collaborate,” Perez explains. “The institute’s main goal is to give opportunities to gifted musicians to have enough experience and become ambassadors and social activists as well as artists.”

“My whole thing in the next part of my life is to connect all the young musicians from around the world and use the music as a tool to create an inter-cultural dialogue. I feel musicians should definitely become predominant and active in the creation of new ideas in how to solve the issues that we have with peace and diplomacy along with the challenges that we have as human beings.”

Perez, who performed at Jazz Fest for the first time in 1998, also felt strongly that his students should come to New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz.

“You cannot learn this music without having that experience,” he offers. “New Orleans is a fundamental city. They breathe jazz, they breathe music, they breathe culture. In order to change the world through jazz you have to have a foundation.”

“It did change me when I went there for the first time,” he continues. “When I came to the United States from Panama (in the 1980s) I saw jazz as something that they do in New York and it was something that came from the United States. But when I went to New Orleans, New Orleans made me feel so welcome that I started researching the connection between New Orleans and Panama and I found many. It’s always felt like home to me. It’s a place where I get my energy back.”

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