The Panama Jazz Festival, now in its 19th year under the leadership of artistic director Danilo Pérez, will take place Jan. 10-15, 2022, both virtually and in various venues around Panama City. Among the headliners are Kurt Elling, the Borderlands Trio (featuring Kris Davis, Stephan Crump, and Eric McPherson), Antonio Hart, and Pérez’s Global Messengers group. In addition, the festival will feature Panamanian jazz artists such as Solinka, Idania Dowman, Mayra Hurley, and Panama Connections.
The festival will pay tribute to the legacy of Panamanian pianist Frank Anderson, who performed with Latin jazz greats Marcelino Guerra, Israel “Cachao” López, Chico O’Farrill, and Arsenio Rodríguez as well as jazz masters such as Clark Terry, Lena Horne, Hubert Laws, Woody Shaw, Kenny Burrell, and many others. He also created his own Caribbean Big Band.
The Panama Jazz Festival has always had a strong education component, with outreach programs in the local community and participation from various U.S. jazz education programs. This year the festival welcomes Berklee College of Music through the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, the New England Conservatory, and New York Jazz Academy.
In addition, the festival explores the theme of “Playing the Route,” which highlights the historical connection of the region with American music, an affinity buoyed by the construction of the Transoceanic Railroad in 1850, the development of the banana industry in the late 1800s, and the construction of the Panama Canal in 1903, which linked Panama to New York and New Orleans and enabled the region to play an important part in jazz history.
“The festival is a cultural project that over 18 years has managed to consolidate creativity, exchange, and talent, with a strong commitment to education and social welfare in Panama,” Pérez said in a press release received by JazzTimes. “It is the largest cultural event in the region, which has had the participation of thousands of artists and public from all over the world, adding more than 300,000 attendees in its 18 past editions.”
For more information about the Panama Jazz Festival, visit its website.