Hailed by Jazz Times magazine for his “great dexterity,” and cited by critic Thomas Conrad for his musicality, New York bassist and composer Edward Perez is sought by fellow musicians for his creativity and experience in a great diversity of musical styles. In addition to his work with his own jazz quintet and his role as musical director of the afro-Peruvian band, Alcatraz, Perez’s bass lines have been the choice of a stunning array of bandleaders including jazz vocal legend Mark Murphy, latin-jazz Grammy nominees Hector Martignon and Jane Bunnett, Colombian singer Lucia Pulido, trumpet virtuoso Joe Burgstaller of the Canadian Brass, and a host of modern jazz musicians including Martin Bejerano, Anat Cohen, Javier Vercher, Misha Piatigorsky, and Gilad Hekselman.
Perez’s unique sound as a composer traces back to the combination of his grounding in modern jazz and straight ahead combined with insight on percussion and traditional afro-latin music gleaned from his two years in Lima as well as his experience with latin jazz heavyweights of New York City. His second album as a bandleader, featuring his own compositions as played by Eli Degibri, Misha Piatigorsky, Willard Dyson, Arturo Stable, and guests Sofia Koutsovitis and Morris Cañete, will be realesed in late spring 2008. Perez also directs Alcatraz, an afro-Peruvian band that has released a self-titled album and has performed throughout the northeastern US.
As a sideman and bassist, Perez has performed in virtually all of New York’s most venerated jazz venues (including the Blue Note, Lincoln Center, Jazz Standard, Iridium, Dizzy's, Jazz Gallery, Zinc Bar, Smalls, Smoke, Fat Cat, Tonic, 55 Bar, and Nuyorican Poets Café) and he has toured throughout Europe and South America, including appearances in major jazz festivals such as Vitoria, Moers, and Palau de la Musica (Valencia), as well as world music festivals such as Stimmen and Rudolstadt. In addition to the aforementioned bandleaders, Perez has shared the stage or recorded with such contemporary jazz luminaries as Seamus Blake, Lionel Loueke, Miguel Zenón, Ari Hoenig, and Perico Sambeat.
Perez began studying bass and piano early, and by age 13, he was a member of the symphony orchestra of his hometown in southern Texas. Two years later, he left to study music at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, where he graduated as valedictorian, played in the school’s award winning big band (Downbeat Magazine 1994), and received recognition from the NFAA for jazz performance. Perez later studied applied mathematics at Harvard University, graduating cum laude. In his collegiate years, he simultaneously got an education in jazz by playing frequently in Boston’s nightspots, including a stretch as the house bassist at Wally´s Jazz Cafe, repeatedly the winner of Best of Boston magazine´s award for best jazz club.
Perez later moved to Lima, Peru, furthering his interests in a diversity of afro-latin musical styles and beginning a lifelong relationship with afro-Peruvian music. In his two years in Lima, Perez performed frequently with many of the greatest musicians of the genre including percussionists Julio “Chocolate” Algendones and Juan Medrano Cotito as well as the revered guitarists Sergio Valdeos and Andrés Prado. He recorded on five albums in the course of a year, including the Latin Grammy Nominee "Peru Blue" by Pamela, and he worked as an arranger for singer Pilar de la Hoz and for Manongo Mujica’s band Tribal. Perez’s own afro-Peruvian/jazz fusion band, Meridiano 75, performed in Lima's international jazz festival 2004. Upon, moving to New York, Perez founded the group Alcatraz, a quintet which plays his arrangements of afro-Peruvian classics.
Also active in education, Perez has worked as a private lesson instructor for the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in Manhattan, and his teaching experience also includes a year at the Indian Hill Music Center in Massachusetts, private lessons to improvisers on many instruments, and clinics and master classes in Austria, Peru, and various parts of the US.
Constantly searching for new influences in music, Perez continues to explore different styles by working as a sideman with a great variety of groups, from avant-garde jazz to bluegrass and traditional Colombian music. He keeps his career firmly centered in contemporary jazz and latin jazz, and continues to tour and perform as a bandleader in New York.