Concert review: Danilo Perez at Jazz Showcase

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Monday September 22, 2014

From Chicago Tribune
By Howard Reich

Danilo Perez celebrates the pulse of Panama

Twenty years ago, two relatively unknown jazz musicians made their Chicago debuts before a smallish audience in a long-forgotten North Side club called Quicksilver. They played exceptionally well that night in April, 1994, suggesting the world would hear more about them and their boldly international perspectives on how jazz can be re-imagined.

Since then, Panamanian pianist Danilo Perez and Puerto Rican saxophonist David Sanchez have become major musical figures, each still imbuing jazz with the sounds of their homelands. Perez has played periodically in Chicago through the years, especially in large venues such as Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center and often in the company of saxophonist Wayne Shorter. But Perez hasn’t played a club date here in years, so his return to the Jazz Showcase on Thursday evening marked a significant occasion ‘” a rare chance to hear
the eminent pianist at close range, leading his own quartet.

Not surprisingly, a large audience turned out, listeners paying close attention to Perez’s experiments in interweaving music of his native Panama and his adopted home, the United States. Perez returned the compliment by delivering scores of considerable complexity and sophistication, rightly assuming his fans were more than willing to take a journey with him into unfamiliar sounds.

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