Danilo Pérez's Global Messengers

LONDON Southbank Centre / Queen Elizabeth Hall
Belvedere Road
SE1 8 XX


For almost two decades, pianist Danilo Pérez has been co-creating one of the most important bands of our time – the Wayne Shorter quartet, with which he has won all the key awards, visited every major festival and recorded albums like Beyond the Sound Barrier for Verve and Emanon on Blue Note. 

Following a dazzling career including collaborations with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Haden, Michael Brecker, Tito Puente and Wynton Marsalis and several Grammy nominations, Danilo has launched a new band. Global Messengers brings masters from musical traditions in Palestine, Greece, and Jordan to join his Panama roots. Farayi Malek (vocals), Vasilis Kostas (laouto), Layth Al-Rubaye (violin), Naseem Alatrash (cello), Tareq Rantisi (percussion), and Danilo Pérez use their talents to make an impression through beautiful melodies and strikingly syncopated rhythms. 

This Festival will give the European premiere of Danilo’s new work, commissioned by EFG London Jazz Festival, Detroit Jazz Festival, Jazztopad Wroclaw and the Telus Center Toronto. With this work Danilo Pérez observes how change and uncertainty in the social landscape can cause division. He believes music can provide an uplifting message and speaks of ‘recovering the function of the artist to redirect humanity in a positive direction.’

Danilo Pérez is a man with some serious jazz cred - the Panamanian pianist got his start playing with Dizzy Gillespie, and continued with Wayne Shorter. As a composer and bandleader himself, he’s practically peerless


Change and uncertainty in the social landscape can create misconception and
cause division. Music can serve as a natural remedy to unfortunate situations, providing an uplifting message, connection and common ground.

Danilo Pérez’s Global Messengers project advances a mission which is wholly relevant today.
When discussing the healing properties of music, the Panamanian jazz  pianist-composer, humanitarian, and educator speaks of “recovering the  function of the artist as a tool to redirect humanity in a positive direction.”

This new project came to fruition through Perez’s vision of Global Jazz and inspired by the cultures and experiences of its members, hailing from the US, Greece, Jordan, Palestine, and Panama. The talents of Farayi Malek (vocals), Vasilis Kostas (laouto), Layth Sidiq (violin), Naseem Alatrash (cello), Tareq Rantisi (percussion), and Pérez make an impression through beautiful melodies, harmonies, and strikingly syncopated rhythms. The music is rooted in folklore, but expands the boundaries of tradition and sound. The ensemble and the audience experience the ancient practice of building community through music.

Co-commissioned by the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation, London Jazz Festival, The Witold Lutoslawski National Forum of Music, Wroclaw, Poland (Jazztopad Festival), and Koerner Hall at The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Pérez premiered his new work titled Fronteras, composed for the Global Messengers in 2019.

Written in three movements, the piece traces short stories about migration. The first movement, “Cruzando la Frontera” (“Crossing the Frontier”), traces the journey of a Mexican
mother seeking to reunite with her son after 20 years apart. As a child, her son was taken to the US by his father, with the dream of a better life.

The second movement, “Al-Musafir” (“The Traveler”), is about a young man from Palestine who is trying to findhis way to the US to study and to finally meet his birthmother.

The final movement, “Kalesma” (“The Calling”), inspires audiences to reflect on the current humanitarian crisis and calls us to action to find ways to help.

Inspiring young players to believe that they can positively affect their communities as they learn their craft, Pérez serves as a UNESCO Artist For Peace, Cultural Ambassador to the Republic of Panama, Founder and Artistic Director of the Panama Jazz Festival, as well as Founder and Artistic Director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute in Boston’s Berklee College of Music.

I'd urge you to dive into the healing power of music for our tangled times with the thrilling , award winning musician Danilo Perez as his Global Messengers fuse jazz with sounds from around the world at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank.'

(Sarah Ward, Jazz FM)