By Eddie Montes
The 15th edition of the Panama Jazz Festival wrapped up over the weekend, reaffirming its role as one of the coolest events on the Panama City entertainment calendar.
This year’s event featured the Wayne Shorter Quartet, the Chucho Valdes Quarter, Ran Blake, Marco Pignataro, Luciano Souza and many more. Students from all over the world also participated in the festival, which is focused on education and expanding jazz and musicianship in the region.
In a unique twist, the festival also hosts the annual Latin American Music Therapy Symposium, bringing together music therapists from the region to discuss the therapeutic effects of music.
The Jazz Festival was established by pianist, composer, educator and social activist, Danilo Pérez, a native of Panama, who plays in Shorter’s quartet. A world-renowned artist and goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, Perez has toured and recorded with Wynton Marsalis, Tito Puente, Jack DeJohnette and many of the other top artists in the industry.
The Festival also highlights the cultural side of living in Panama City, which is becoming a regular stop for artists from around the Americas. Along with the growth of the annual film festival, the jazz fest is developing as a major regional event, important to students and developing future artists, as well as providing international entertainment.
For expats living in Panama City, the festival provides the type of international event you would expect in a major global capital. For some, it may also provide a touch of home, and certainly serves as a reminder that living in Panama no longer means you are isolated from international culture.
For those who missed this year’s event, here is a taste of the 2016 festival:
Eddie Montes is the head of Property Management for Punta Pacifica Realty, a Panama real estate agency focused on Punta Pacifica, the exclusive neighborhood of 18 towers perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.