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Danilo Perez: Providencia

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There is nothing small about Danilo Perez’s ambitions. The pianist wants nothing less than to create a Panamanian style of jazz composition. And that means a lot more than just adding some congas to a bebop combo.

It’s easy to understand why American jazz musicians have seized upon rhythm as the defining element of Latin music, for that quality is the most exotic to their ears and the most useful to their purposes. But someone who grew up in the music, as Perez did, knows that Latin America in general and Panama in particular also have contributions to make in melody and harmony. To create an indigenous form of jazz composition, he will have to integrate those tunes and chord voicings into the music as well as the hand drums.

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