bandleader / songwriter / drummer / producer
WHO IS PAUL
Versatile creativity defines The Paul Peress Project. From Lincoln Center to the Apollo Theater and at festivals from the US, the Caribbean, Canada, and Africa, Grammy nominee Paul Peress has made the world his stage and its music his mission.
"It's not only about bringing my music to diverse audiences in distant places, it's more about the exchange, the interaction, learning about other cultures, meeting knew folk, and then embracing that energy and growth to be a better person and to make new honest music with a greater world view."
The son of a prolific poet and classical music conductor, Peress grew up in Texas but forged his musical identity as a teenager playing drums in New York City clubs while studying Latin and Brazillian styles with renowned drummers Kenwood Dennard and Kim Plainfield.
Since getting his first big break as a solo artist at the first annual St. Kitts Jazz Festival in 1996, Peress has performed in more than 20 countries with The Paul Peress Project as bandleader/drummer/composer. He’s also been Music Director/Drummer for artists as diverse as Moby, Chaka Khan, Brenda Russell, Jeff Golub, and a sideman with The B-52s and Mary Wilson. His drumming skills, musical diversity, and reputation for showing up with some seriously talent-packed bands has lead to multiple appearances at festivals in South Africa and throughout the Caribbean including Joy of Jazz, Jamaica Jazz & Blues, St. Lucia Jazz, and Internacional Festival de Jazz Latino.
In the studio, Peress has recorded with jazz and rock stalwarts like Chicago frontman Bill Champlin, TOTO lead singer Bobby Kimball, Bloodstone, Gabriela Anders, Mark Whitfield, James Genus, Mike Miller, Jeff Golub, Gerald Veasley, Neil Stubenhaus, and Alphonso Johnson. In November of this year, The Paul Peress Project will release its first album since 2010’s all original “Can’t Let Go.” The set entitled "Falling Awake" features Michael Landau, Will Lee, Ernest Tibbs, Oz Noy, Tom Scott, and Mitch Forman and explores themes of freedom, loss, newfound love, and rebirth.
“This album was inspired by anguish and joy,” Peress recounts. “My father--who had an extraordinary life and career--and two good friends died within the same year and then I received the greatest gift of all - a new baby girl. This pain and happiness motivated me to want to write about these experiences and then speak through my music in a way that will hopefully touch audiences who can relate to this rollercoaster of human experiences we all share.”
While Falling Awake was created to be an emotional journey, Peress will be releasing a series of singles starting in September to give fans a taste of what’s to come.
“These teaser songs, if you will, feature Will Lee, Michael Landau, and Oz Noy, and give you a pretty good idea of what’s to come - the entire album paints a visual and ought be listened first song to last (and back again lol)."
In 2020, The Paul Peress Project will be hitting the road--back to the Caribbean and expanding its footprint into the US with festival and club dates starting next spring.
“Personally and professionally, this record embodies the influences that have inspired me to make and perform music,” said Peress. “It’s Jazzy, Bluesy, and Soulful, with some hard hitting guitar-driven tunes on one end and slow ethereal thought provoking songs on the other. I can’t wait to share that energy with listeners and am amped to see the unfolding of this next musical adventure.”
A Must See Artist and Master Drummer - Los Angeles Times
Peress pushes the boundaries of contemporary radio - Joe Lalaina, Guitar World
Un Gran Talento - El Vocero de Puerto Rico