Paquito D’Rivera, straddling jazz and classical worlds

Posted on: June 17, 2019

“Cuban-born saxophonist and clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera is revered in both the jazz and classical worlds,” writes Daniel Goldberg on  Thursday (6/13) at Chicago radio station WFMT. “D’Rivera’s father, Tito, was a classical saxophone player in the ensemble Conjunto Sinfonico de Saxofones, which performed music from the standard repertoire as well as Cuban composers…. D’Rivera said … his father .. ‘loved the sound of Stan Getz, Lester Young, the Ellington Orchestra, and the Goodman Orchestra. He used to play Benny Goodman’s Live at Carnegie Hall album and Goodman’s rendition of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto back to back.’ …  D’Rivera began playing soprano saxophone at the age of five. By age 10, he was performing with the National Theater Orchestra of Cuba, and by age 12, in 1960, he was studying at the Havana Conservatory of Music, where he learned both the saxophone and clarinet. By 1973, he had formed the jazz orchestra Irakere with pianist Chucho Valdés. With Irakere, D’Rivera won his first Grammy in 1980. He defected to the United States in 1981.” In an interview, Paquito speaks about playing different genres of music, bringing back improvisation into classical music, and the concerto he is writing for trumpet and orchestra.

Posted June 17, 2019