Panama Jazz Festival, Under Direction of Danilo Perez, Announces Lineup for 2010

Dee Dee Bridgewater
Ellis Marsalis Barbados

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The Panama Jazz Festival officially announced its dates and lineup for 2010. The festival, under the leadership of its artistic director Danilo Perez, will take place January 11-16, 2010, with performances by Joe Lovano, Ellis Marsalis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, John Patitucci, Terri Lyne Carrington, Jamey Haddad, Juanito Pascual and Carlos Garnett. The festival is dedicated to the memory of Panamanian pianist, Ellerton Oswald (better known as Sonny White). Oswald is best known in the jazz world for his work with Dexter Gordon, Sidney Bechet and Billie Holiday; he was Holiday’s accompanist on her recording Strange Fruit. In a press release received at JT, Pérez said about Oswald that, “despite the lack of information in Panama about this extraordinary artist, whose career in the United States dates back to the 1930’s, his participation on Strange Fruit was considered ground breaking.”

The festival has always had a very large education component and this year is no exception. This year the Panama Canal Authority will sponsor classrooms, where invited artists will teach master classes and hold music clinics for students from all parts of Latin America. Several education institutions have an active presence in Panama, offering lessons and holding auditions for admission and scholarships to their different academic programs. This year the institutions confirmed include Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico, and The Goldansky Institute.

“The educational component of the festival is the highlight of all the annual programs we do at the Danilo Pérez Foundation in Panama,” explained Pérez in a statement issued to the press. “In 2009 we had almost 1,000 students from Panama, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Colombia, Chile, USA, Mexico. This year, we are expanding to European countries and hope to have even more students.”

The Panama Jazz Festival also offers master classes on Panamanian Folkloric music taught by Maestro of the Panamanian tambor, Ricaurte Villareal, dance with members of the Panamanian National Ballet, classical music with renowned national and international musicians from Panama and the New England Conservatory, a literature program and a technology program with the Technology Division of Berklee College of Music, as well as a summer music program for children aged 4-16 years.

For more information about the Panama Jazz Festival, go to the festival’s web site.