Pianist Danilo Perez has been appointed cultural ambassador of his native Panama.
"This is a great honor and responsibility that I will hold with the highest regard and respect," Perez said in a statement released by his record label, Verve/Impulse.
Considered one of the finest Latin American pianists, Perez, 34, is on drummer Roy Haynes' new record The Roy Haynes Trio Featuring Danilo Perez & John Patitucci. His own albums include 1996's Panamonk and 1998's Central Avenue, which includes the song "Impromptu (Conversations)" (RealAudio excerpt). He has worked with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera, among others.
As cultural ambassador, a lifelong title, Perez will hold a diplomatic passport while working with Panama's tourism board and government to promote Panamanian culture throughout the world.
This spring, Perez will tour several cities in France and the U.S. with his trio, which features Antonio Sanchez on drums and Carlos Henriquez on bass.