Diplo-Monk

Panamanian pianist Danilo Perez takes diplomacy as seriously as he does jazz

Like his native Panama, Danilo Perez bridges cultures
Like his native Panama, Danilo Perez bridges cultures
Like his native Panama, Danilo Perez bridges cultures
Like his native Panama, Danilo Perez bridges cultures

Details

Performs as part of Miami-Dade Community College's Cultura del Lobo series at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, May 17, Tickets cost $20 and $26. Call 305-237-3010.
The Lincoln Theatre, 541 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach

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Counting off mentors such as D'Rivera, Hendricks, Gillespie, Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, James Moody, Jack DeJohnette, and Wayne Shorter, Perez knows he is the last of a privileged breed that enjoyed perfecting their playing on the stages of nightclubs and concert halls. Yet he's optimistic that jazz will not die, despite dire predictions by music critics. "It's up to us to bring that experience to the classroom," he exhorts. "It's the only way we're going to keep the music alive." Perez does his part, teaching at the New England Conservatory when he's off the road. That's just another place where he carries out his mission as a cultural ambassador. No matter how well suited he seems for diplomacy, he still marvels at having been chosen for the job. "I just wanted to play music and make people happy," he explains. "I didn't realize that when I was making music it was so symbolic and could be really important. It takes maturity and growth to really understand that. I do feel connected to my country, and I'm trying to bring out the music, but before it was more innocent. Now I know that it's my duty."

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