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Paquito D'Rivera

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Biography

Cuba-born and New York-based saxophonist and clarinet player Paquito D'Rivera has balanced a career in Latin jazz with commissions as a classical composer and appearances with symphony orchestras. Classical New Jersey wrote, "Whether playing Bach or post-bop, D'Rivera's mastery of the instruments and [his] expressive capability is unquestionable." D'Rivera inherited his understanding of music from his father, Tito, a classical saxophonist and conductor. At the age of five, he began being tutored in musical theory by his father. Within a year, he was playing well enough to be paid as a musician. By the age of seven, he became the youngest musician to endorse a musical instrument (Selmer saxophones). Three years later, he performed with the National Theater Orchestra of Havana. Although he initially played soprano saxophone, D'Rivera switched to the alto after teaching himself to play via the book Jimmy Dorsey Saxophone Method: A School of Rhythmic Saxophone Playing. Strengthening his knowledge of music and playing techniques, D'Rivera began studying at the Havana Conservatory of Music in 1960. In 1965, he became a featured soloist with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. After playing with the Cuban Army Band, he joined pianist Chu Chu Valdez to found the Orchestra Cubana de Musica Moderna, and served as the band's conductor for two years. In 1973, he joined eight members of the Orchestra Cubana de Musica Moderna to form Irakere. The group, which fused jazz, rock, classical, and traditional Cuban music, became the first post-Castro Cuban group to sign with an American record label. Along with the band, D'Rivera toured the world and Irakere became a top-rated jazz ensemble. In 1979, the group joined American jazz and rock performers for a music festival, Havana Jam, that was recorded and released the following year. In 1981, D'Rivera defected from Cuba and moved to the United States. Before long, he was playing with such American musicians as Dizzy Gillespie, David Amram, and Mario Bauza. According to Bauza, D'Rivera was "the only musician I know on the scene playing the real Latin jazz, all others are playing Afro-Cuban jazz." D'Rivera's debut solo album, Blowin', released in June 1981, was followed by Mariel a year later. Time magazine wrote, "The bopped-up, romantic, salty and sensuous jazz that he makes recognizes no real political boundary. It has its roots equally in the hothouse Latin rhythms of his homeland and in the high-flying horns of Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and Lee Konitz." In 1988, D'Rivera was invited to become a charter member of Gillespie's 15-piece all-star group, the United Nations Orchestra. The same year, he was a guest soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra for their world-premiere performance of Roger Kellaway's David Street Blues at the John F. Kennedy Center. He continued to be involved with a variety of projects. In addition to performing with the Paquito D'Rivera Big Band, the Paquito D'Rivera Quintet, the chamber music group Triangulo, and the calypso and salsa band the Caribbean Jazz Project, he began to accept commissions to compose for chamber groups and orchestras. In 1989, he composed "New York Suite" for the Gerald Danovich Saxophone Quartet, and five years later he composed "Aires Tropicales" for the Aspen Wind Quintet. The piece has subsequently been performed by at least four quintets. In 1997, D'Rivera's album Portraits of Cuba received a Grammy Award as Best Latin Jazz Performance. During the summer of 1999, he collaborated with Germany's Chamber Orchestra Werneck in a series of programs, D'Rivera Meets Mozart. D'Rivera was artist-in-residence for the New Jersey Performing Arts Commission and artistic director in charge of jazz programming for the New Jersey Chamber Music Society. His autobiography, My Saxual Life, was published by the Spanish book publisher Seix Barral, along with a novel, En Tus Brazos Morenos, scheduled to follow shortly afterwards. The album Live at the Blue Note appeared in the spring of 2000, and Habanera followed in early 2001. In 2001, D'Rivera released The Clarinetist, Vol. 1, his first recording to rely exclusively on the strengths of its woodwind namesake. Arriving in 2002, Brazilian Dreams, a live recording featuring the New York Voices and trumpeter Claudio Roditi, won the Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album. It was followed in 2003 by the swinging Big Band Time. Several more well-received albums followed in 2004, including Music of Both Worlds, Tribute to Cal Tjader, and Riberas, the latter of which took home the Latin Grammy for Best Classical Album. The Grammy-nominated Jazz Chamber Trio followed in 2005. In 2007 D'Rivera delivered Funk Tango, which took home another Grammy, this time for Best Latin Jazz Album. Two years later, he teamed with clarinetist Sabine Meyer for Jazz Clazz. In 2010, D'Rivera released the expansive live album Panamericana Suite, which won two Latin Grammys for Best Latin Jazz Album and Best Classical Contemporary Composition. D'Rivera then joined Paraguayan classical guitar virtuoso Berta Rojas for Día y Medio: A Day and a Half in 2012. In 2013, D'Rivera paid homage to his mother with the Brazilian-themed trio album Songs for Maura, which also won the Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album. A year later, he combined his love of jazz and classical with Jazz Meets the Classics, featuring adventurous reworkings of compositions by Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and others. Released in 2015, Aires Tropicales featured D'Rivera backed by the Quinteto Cimarron string quartet. In 2016, D'Rivera showcased the music of storied Mexican singer, pianist, and composer Armando Manzanero on Paquito & Manzanero. ~ Craig Harris
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   La Bella Cubana
  3.   Manteca
  4.   Amor Sin Esperanza
  5.   God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  6.   Habana
  7.   Tu Mariposa
  8.   Why Not
  9.   Song to My Son
  10.   On Green Dolphin Street
  11.   Tanguajira
  12.   El Dia Que Me Quieras
  13.   Sin Tu Carino (Puerto Rico/U.S.A.)
  14.   Song For Maura
  15.   Out of Nowhere featuring Danilo Pérez
  16.   Tonada
  17.   Panamericana
  18.   Havana Cafe
  19.   Corcovado
  20.   Mariela's Dream
  21.   Meu Amigo
  22.   Monk-Tuno
  23.   Preludio No. 3
  24.   No Te Importe Saber
  25.   Miami
  26.   Como Fue
  27.   Amor Sin Medida
  28.   Tu, Mi Delirio
  29.   Cristal
  30.   Y la Negra Bailaba
  31.   Theme from "I Love Lucy"
  32.   Alfonsina y el Mar
  33.   A Night in Tunisia
  34.   Monga
  35.   Basstronaut
  36.   Vereda Tropical
  37.   Deja Vu
  38.   Der Hirt Auf Dem Felsen Op.
  39.   Mariana
  40.   Improvisation
  41.   Pere
  42.   Drume Negrita
  43.   What Are You Doing Tomorrow Night?
  44.   Difficult
  45.   Tu
  46.   Al Fin Amor
  47.   I Mean You featuring Danilo Pérez
  48.   Nuestro Bolero featuring James Moody
  49.   Serenata featuring Danilo Pérez
  50.   La Canción de los Niños
  51.   Jean Pauline
  52.   Excerpt from "Aires Tropicales"
  53.   Mi Pequena Anna
  54.   Three Venezuelan Waltzes: El Mardino featuring Danilo Pérez
  55.   Retrato em Branco E Preto
  56.   Milonga 10
  57.   Funk Tango
  58.   Añorado Encuentro featuring Danilo Pérez
  59.   Niebla y Cemento
  60.   Goodbye
  61.   The Return
  62.   Tico Tico
  63.   Corazon Partio
  64.   Desafinado
  65.   Danza Caracteristica featuring Danilo Pérez
  66.   Stella by Starlight
  67.   La Yumba-Caravan
  68.   Modinha
  69.   Serenade
  70.   La Patica
  71.   Bossa do Brooklyn
  72.   Kalimba
  73.   Claudia
  74.   Despojo
  75.   Viejo Smocking
  76.   Verano Porteño
  77.   Milonguinha
  78.   Beto
  79.   Bandoneón
  80.   Giant Steps featuring Danilo Pérez
  81.   Revirado
  82.   Tres Anime
  83.   Anime
  84.   Annette's for Sure
  85.   Andalucia
  86.   Red on Red
  87.   Manha de Carnaval/Gentle Rain
  88.   Como un Bolero
  89.   Habanera
  90.   La Dama Y El Vagabundo featuring WDR Big Band
  91.   Three Venezuelan Waltzes: Valse Criollo featuring Danilo Pérez
  92.   A Mi Que / El Manisero (The Peanut Vendor)
  93.   Mambo Inn
  94.   El Coronel y Marina
  95.   Tropicana Nights
  96.   Old Miami Sax
  97.   Siboney
  98.   Cicuta Tibia
  99.   Estamos Ahi
  100.   Who's Smoking?!
  101.   Contradanza by Paquito D'Rivera Quintet
  102.   Como Arrullo de Palmas
  103.   Portraits of Cuba
  104.   Groove for Diz
  105.   Quasi Modal
  106.   Andalucia Medley
  107.   Memories
  108.   Recife's Blues
  109.   Puerto Padre
  110.   King of Cancun
  111.   Tocache
  112.   Guarina
  113.   The Peanut Vendor
  114.   Chucho
  115.   Calzada del Cerro
  116.   Nuestro Bolero
  117.   Desert Storm featuring Danilo Pérez
  118.   Linda's Moody by James Moody
  119.   All the Things You Are
  120.   A Lo Tristano
  121.   Two Venezuelan Waltzes
  122.   Feelings of the Heart
  123.   Paquito's Samba
  124.   Paquito
  125.   Guataca City
  126.   For Leny (Andrade)
  127.   Manhattan Burn
  128.   La Comparsa
  129.   Chick (For Chick Corea)
  130.   Wapango
  131.   To Brenda With Love
  132.   Zanaith
  133.   Danzón (Memories)
  134.   Carinhoso
  135.   Échale Salsita
  136.   Bossa del Pico Eléctrico
  137.   Ay Ay Ay
  138.   Hasta Siempre
  139.   The Priest
  140.   Mirando Caer la Lluvia
  141.   Tojo
  142.   Soft Winds featuring Christopher Dell
  143.   Memories of You featuring Christopher Dell
  144.   One For Tom
  145.   PFP (Piece For Paquito) featuring WDR Big Band
  146.   Elizabeth featuring Danilo Pérez
  147.   El Paso de las Estrellas
  148.   Para Ti Llevo Más
  149.   Song For Peace