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Danilo Pérez was born in Panama on December 29, 1965 and began his musical studies at age three; by ten he was studying classical piano at the National Conservatory of Music. Pérez earned a bachelor's degree in electronics and came to the United States in the early 1980s, eventually landing at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he has lived ever since. He completed his studies in jazz composition and worked with Terence Blanchard, Jon Hendricks, and Paquito D'Rivera before joining Dizzy Gillespie's United Nations Orchestra in 1989 for a four-year stay.

Danilo Pérez

Pérez debuted as a leader with "Danilo Pérez" in 1992, followed by "The Journey," both for RCA/Novus. He teamed with producer Tommy LiPuma for "Panamonk" in 1996 (called "a masterpiece of jazz synthesis" by the New York Times); the Grammy nominees "Central Avenue" (1998) and "Motherland" (2000); and 2003's "Till Then." The pianist also released two CDs through ArtistShare: "Danilo Pérez Trio Live at the Jazz Showcase" (2005) and "Danilo Pérez Big Band/Panama Suite" (2006).

Pérez has been a member of the Wayne Shorter Quartet since 2000 and appears on three of the saxophonist's CDs--"Footprints Live!" (2001) and the Grammy winners "Alegria" (2003) and "Beyond the Sound Barrier" (2005). Currently, Pérez is Artistic Director of the Panama Jazz Festival, which he founded in 2003, and President of the Danilo Pérez Foundation, founded in 2005 to promote Panamanian art and culture. He serves as the Ambassador of Goodwill for UNICEF, Artistic Advisor of the Mellon Jazz Up Close series at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, and faculty member of the New England Conservatory and Berklee College of Music.

Pérez also tours with his trio--bassist Ben Street and drummer Adam Cruz.

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