Introducing Luis Carlos Pérez

Meet IN·FLO·RES·CENCE Composer: Panamanian saxophonist and composer Luis Carlos Peréz!

Performance | Interview

For IN·FLO·RES·CENCE Luis Carlos Peréz was commissioned by Reece Ewing to create a composition for solo piano around 1 minute in length responding to the changes to daily life during the global coronavirus outbreak. As part of the platform hosted by The Showroom, this individual piece and 9 others will all be interpreted and performed by the project’s first Artist-in-Residence, Pianist Elio Villafranca, throughout the duration of the project.

Luis’s special composition Panama Connection came with the following Composer’s note:

Panama Connection is a short piano solo piece written to illustrate the cultural exchange and support among africans during the European colonization and slavery in Panama. This connection took place at the marronage Palenques (communities hidden in the jungle), and it’s been displayed in this piece as a sign of solidarity and human connectivity through difficult times. A good example to follow during the present world crisis of COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Afro Panamanian connection is featured in the composition through the maroon dance of Zaracundé and the tambor Congo from the Congo culture of the Panama Atlantic coast. This composition also shows a taste of jazz language and diverse poli rhythms to emulate phonetic patterns.

In the below intimate conversation with Kevin Le Gendre (Broadcaster and Writer of Don’t Stop the Carnival: Black British Music, 2019), Luis discusses how Panama has been affected by the pandemic and his lockdown experience; his personal background as an organist before turning to the classical and then jazz saxophone; the jazz legacy and community in Panama and his drum called “pujador” which he plays to bring to life diverse Afro-centric rhythm influences; his special new composition Panama Connection full of metric movement budding out of an interest in the cultural exchange and support among Africans during the European colonisation and slavery, and the importance for humanity to have grounding in environmental sustainability, faith, and solidarity more than ever.

Image: Panamanian drum “pujador”. Courtesy of Luis Carlos Peréz

Panamanian saxophonist and composer Luis Carlos Peréz was born in 1978, started playing organ at 9, and took up the saxophone as his main instrument at 13. He studied at the Panama Conservatory of Music and received a Masters in Jazz Composition at New England Conservatory in Boston. Perez was awarded as an outstanding scholarship and enterprise student by the NEC Alumni Tourjee Award, and awarded an international scholarship from Danilo Perez Foundation. He has performed at the Panama Jazz Festival, and festivals in Cuba, Chile, USA and Europe.

Peréz has produced 16 editions of the christmas concert “Jazz en Belen” (Jazz at Bethlehem). He has accompanied artists such as Celia Cruz, Ruben Blades, Willie Colon, Gilberto and Santarosa and performed with Danilo Perez, Phil Ranelin, Luisito Quintero, and the Global Jazz Big Band. He’s part of the Salsa Big Band project of Ruben Blades and Roberto Delgado, teaches at the Danilo Perez Foundation, and is a BG France artist.

Luis Carlos Peréz receiving the Roque Cordero composition award (2018)



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