Artists for the Amazon

Danilo Perez

One thing that caught my attention deeply was the idea of how reforestation worked as an improvisation. You plant something in nature, but then nature improvises; you don’t know how it’s going to come out. I started putting concepts together, like the way the trees behave with a certain rhythm, and the timing that needs to happen. That’s where the first symphony in the world comes from: the jungle. I became fascinated with that.
“When you grow up in Panama, you grew up very close to nature. When we were kids, we used to go to the river [with my father], and he would point out the whistle of the birds. I found it fascinating from early on, the way they whistled…. Then I got into [Olivier] Messiaen. He studied bird calls and wrote a series of harmonies about them.[Later in life,] I started meeting people that started to kind of show me the direction to go. Nathan Gray, who’s the CEO of EarthTrain, and my wife, we started going on journeys deep into the jungle. When I went in, it brought a lot of things together. I already felt I knew what to do while I was in that environment, what to listen for.

One thing that caught my attention deeply was the idea…of how reforestation worked as an improvisation. You plant something in nature, but then nature improvises; you don’t know how it’s going to come out. I started putting concepts together, like the way the trees behave with a certain rhythm, and the timing that needs to happen. That’s where the first symphony in the world comes from: the jungle. I became fascinated with that.I realized that the closer I got to nature, the more [I thought of] the idea of human development. One day we went to a river for example, and I could drink water from the river. And I had this feeling like, “Wow, how far have we come from this, buying Evian water.” So for me, it connected how humans, the way we’re developed, takes us on this path of destruction. Why are we trying to destroy nature? We need it to survive, and to be creative.”

Grammy award winner Danilo Perez is among the most influential and dynamic musicians of our time with his distinctive blend of Pan-American jazz. Whether leading his own ensembles or touring with renowned jazz masters including Wayne Shorter, Roy Haynes, and Steve Lacy, Danilo is making a decidedly fresh imprint on contemporary music, guided as always by his love for jazz. He has led his own groups since the early 90?s, and as bandleader has earned three Grammy nominations for his ebullient and innovative recordings.

In 2002, he received a nomination from the Jazz Journalists Association for “Pianist of the Year.” Currently, Perez serves as UNESCO Artist for Peace, Artistic Director of the Berkley Global Jazz Institute, and Artistic Director of the Panama Jazz Festival. In previous years, he served as Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF and Cultural Ambassador to the Republic of Panama.

MUSIC BY DANILO PEREZ

“The Oracle”

“Awakening 1”

“Galactic Panama”