This post is also available in: Spanish
By Ursula Kiener Ford
Danilo Perez is a legend in Panama, a visionary man, who ten years ago decided to create a Jazz Festival in Panama. Many thought he was insane since jazz was not very popular, but he proved everybody wrong and the festival each year attracts a greater number of people from the country and abroad.
The yearly Jazz Festival used to be held in Casco Viejo, but the space became too small, so three years ago the City of Knowledge became its new host. The last event of the festival is a free open air concert, which will be held Saturday, January 18. Last year’s version was attended by more than 20,000 people. Daily events include concerts all week from 4-6 p.m. and 8-9 p.m.
Those who loved the jazz festival in Casco Antiguo, will be happy to know that Danilo Perez will soon be opening his own jazz bar in this area. Along with Platea, both places will be the host of the official after parties for the jazz festival.
This year’s version has the slogan, “From the heart of America to the World,” because Danilo believes the festival is not his anymore, it belongs to all of Latin America.
Danilo Perez believes that music is a way to transform and create social change. He teaches music therapy, that scientifically has been proven to help develop the brain. Danilo Perez Foundation has helped coordinate over $3 million in a public-private venture for low income students who wish to study music.
The Panamanian government agrees with Danilo’s vision and both the Mayor’s office and the Panama’s National Institute of Culture supports the festival. Roxana Mendez, the Mayor of Panama City, states “the level of competitiveness must not be measured only in cement, it must also be measured by art, culture and music. Our country is trying to raise this level.”
Danilo mentioned to Roxana that he has a great library of music and instruments with no place to store them. A brilliant idea was created: to turn the House of The Municipality in Casco Antiguo into Panama’s music museum managed by the Danilo Perez Foundation. Roxana presented the idea to the municipal council and all the representatives of the city voted in favor.
Those who wish to listen to great jazz music can visit www.panamajazzfestival.com for information on artists, clinics, and a calendar of events. Tickets can be purchased online on
Jazz Festival Program
Thursday, January 16
Convention Center – Auditorium, City of Knowledge
4-5pm Crossroads High School
5-6pm Anita Loynaz Candela Candela
Atheneum, City of Knowledge
8-9pm John Patitucci Latin Project with Berklee Global Jazz Institute
9-10 pm Osvaldo Ayala Transístmico Project
Friday, January 17
Building 105, Room 301, City of Knowledge
Final Concert Berklee Global Jazz Institute – Program for Credit – (Free Concert)
Building 105, Room 203, City of Knowledge
Final Concert Youth Gospel Choir directed by Kevin Harris (Free Concert)
Atheneum, City of Knowledge
7-8pm Shea Welsh & Michelle Coltrane
8-9pm Lizz Wright
Central Square, City of Knowledge
9-10 Danilo Pérez Panama 500
10-11pm Eguie Castrillo & Panama Jazz Festival Orchestra with guest Wichy Camacho
Saturday, January 18
Cuadrángulo Central, Ciudad Del Saber
Outdoor Jazz Concerts from 1-8pm