In 1998 Mr. Perez took over the piano chair in what may be the most internationally renowned Cuban group of all time, ‘Irakere’. More recently, "the amazing Havana pianist," as he has been called by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, also has taken part in the production of the all-star collaboration "La Rumba Soy Yo," a recording which received a Grammy in the 2001 Latin Music Awards.
As a leader, Mr. Perez has released two recordings, the 1998 solo-piano disc "Soneao" on Tamarindo Records, and the recent "From Enchantment and Timba to Full Force Jazz," a sophisticated yet hard-driving collection of Latin Jazz originals released by Universal/ Pimienta Records and nominated for 2003 Grammy Award. Two other releases that he recently performed on, Juan Manuel Ceruto’s Bigband tribute to Emiliano Salvador "A Puerto Padre," and Mayra Caridad Valdes’ "La Diosa del Mar" also received Grammy nominations for this year.
Since relocating to the U.S., Tony Perez has embarked on a musical exploration within the confines of the more intimate piano trio setting, to further the more acoustic and jazz-oriented side of his career. The Tony Perez Quartet is his first stateside project and features John Lockwood on acoustic bass and Bertram Lehmann on drums, and Ernesto Diaz on percussion. In this context, the group delves into a combination of original material from Perez’ latest discs, and in what promises to be a distinctly Afro-Cuban perspective, presents a fresh improvisational approach to contemporary jazz repertoire.
Mr. Lehmann and Mr. Lockwood are among the most prominent and active musicians in the New England and New York regions, and have performed with a wide variety of local as well as nationally known artists. While John Lockwood is perhaps foremost known in the New England region for his regular performances with The Fringe, Laszlo Gardony, George Garzone, Mat and Joe Maneri as well as Billy Pierce, he has also earned an outstanding international reputation throughout his career that includes performances with legends like Joe Henderson, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Carter, Pat Metheny, Danilo Perez, Freddie Hubbard, and Gary Burton.
Bertram Lehmann has earned high recognition as drummer for acclaimed New England-based ensembles Mango Blue, Natraj, the Luciana Souza Quintet, and the Katie Viqueira Group. Additionally, he has performed with artists such as Paquito D’Rivera, Danilo Perez, Dave Samuels, Romero Lubambo, Kenny Werner, John Benitez, and Claudio Roditi.
Ernesto Diaz is one of the most accomplished percussionists in the region and beyond, who, among many others, has appeared with Celia Cruz, Orlando "Puntilla" Rios, Dave Samuels, Mango Blues and La Timba Loca.