Born in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, Tony Perez began his jazz training at Cuba's National School of Arts. It was there that he gained an appreciation for Irakere, a popular Latin jazz group he began to idolize. He developed his own style of piano playing and began to collaborate with fellow musician Isaac Delgado and former Irakere member José Luis Cortés. He continued to work on his own material, joining up with salsa group Klimax and performing at the famous Montreaux Jazz Festival. By 1997 he was one of the youngest Latin jazz musical directors in the genre, working with Irakere after being hand picked by fellow musician Chucho Valdes to lead the band. Despite his group status, he has managed to work with many other jazz groups and musicians, and spent a good portion of the late '90s touring and recording with countless other musicians. In 2001, his American tour with Irakere was stopped due to the terrorist attacks on New York City, so he relocated to Boston to promote his band's material while they remained in Cuba due to their canceled visas.
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