Paquito D'Rivera Quintet

Paquito D'Rivera

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Paquito D'Rivera

Paquito D'Rivera (born 4 June 1948) is a Cuban alto saxophonist, clarinetist and soprano saxophonist. The winner of multiple Grammys and other awards, D'Rivera has lived in the United States since the early 1980s. He has worked in a variety of contexts, but is perhaps best known for playing Latin jazz. He has won six Latin Grammy Awards[1] and four Grammy awards.[2]

Early life

Born in Havana, D'Rivera grew up in Cuba. He started learning music at the age of five with his father Tito Rivera, a well-known classical saxophonist and conductor in Cuba. Paquito himself learned both the saxophone and clarinet and performed with the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba at a young age.

When he was seven, became the youngest artist ever to endorse a musical instrument, when he signed on with the music company Selmer.


By 1980, D'Rivera had been dissatisfied with the constraints placed on his music in Cuba for many years. In an interview with ReasonTV, D'Rivera notes that the Cuban communist government described jazz and rock and roll as "imperialist" music that was officially discouraged in the 1960s and '70s, and that a meeting with Che Guevara sparked his desire to leave Cuba.[3] In early 1981, while on tour in Spain, he sought asylum with the American Embassy, and left his homeland, wife and child behind in search of a better life with a promise to get them out.

Upon his arrival in the United States, D'Rivera found great support for him and his family. His mother Maura and his sister Rosario had left Cuba in 1968 and become US citizens. Maura had worked in the US in the fashion industry for many years, and Rosario was now a respected artist/entrepreneur [1]. Many notables reached out to help Paquito, including Dizzy Gillespie, David Amram, Mario Bauzá and Bruce Lundvall, who gave him his first solo recording date. D'Rivera quickly earned respect among American jazz musicians and was introduced to the jazz scene at some of the most prestigious clubs and concert halls in New York. He became something of a phenomenon after the release of his first two solo albums, Paquito Blowin (June 1981) and Mariel (July 1982).

Throughout his career in the United States, D'Rivera's albums have received reviews from critics and have hit the top of the jazz charts. His albums have shown a progression that demonstrates his extraordinary abilities in bebop, classical and Latin/Caribbean music. D'Rivera's expertise transcends musical genres as he is the only artist to ever have won Grammy Awards in both Classical and Latin Jazz categories.[4]

D'Rivera also plays with "crossover" artists such as the Ying Quartet, Turtle Island String Quartet, cellist Mark Summer, pianist Alon Yavnai, and Yo-Yo Ma. He has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall and played with the National Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, Bronx Arts Ensemble, Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, YOA Orchestra of the Americas, Costa Rican Symphony Orchestra, American Youth Philharmonic, and Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra.

D'Rivera is an Artist in Residence at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and artistic director of the Festival International de Jazz en el Tambo in Uruguay. He is also a member of the Alon Yavnai-Paquito D'Rivera Duet and the Jazz Chamber Trio.

He has also written a memoir entitled My Sax Life.

In 2005, D'Rivera wrote a letter criticizing musician Carlos Santana for his decision to wear a T-shirt with the image of Che Guevara on it to the 2005 Academy Awards, citing Guevara's role in the execution of counter-revolutionaries in Cuba, including his own cousin.

D'Rivera was a judge for the 5th and 8th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists.[5]

Paquito D'Rivera Quintet

The band backing D'Rivera consists of Peruvian bassist Oscar Stagnaro, Argentinean trumpeter Diego Urcola, American drummer Mark Walker, and pianist Alex Brown.[6] As a whole they are named the "Paquito D'Rivera Quintet"[6] and under this name they were awarded the Latin Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album for the album Live at the Blue Note in 2001.[7]

Personal life

D'Rivera lives in North Bergen, New Jersey.[8]

Awards and nominations

  • 1979 "Irakere" Best Latin Recording  22nd Annual Grammy Awards
  • 1996 Portraits of Cuba won Best Latin Jazz Performance  39th Annual Grammy Awards
  • 2000 "Music of Two Worlds" nominated Best Classical Album  42nd Annual Grammy Awards
  • 2000 Tropicana Nights won Best Latin Jazz Album  1st Annual Latin Grammy Awards
  • 2001 Live at the Blue Note  won Best Latin Jazz Album  2nd Annual Latin Grammy Awards
  • 2001 "The Clarinetist Vol. 1" nominated Best Classical Crossover Album  43rd Annual Grammy Awards
  • 2003 Brazilian Dreams won Best Latin Jazz Album  4th Annual Latin Grammy Awards
  • 2003 "Historia del Soldado" won Best Classical Album  4th Annual Latin Grammy Awards
  • 2003 Doctorate Honoris Causa in Music, Berklee College of Music
  • 2004 "Merengue" won Best Instrumental Composition  47th Annual Grammy Awards
  • 2004 Jazz Journalists Association, Clarinet of the Year Award
  • 2005 National Medal of Arts recipient
  • 2005 National Endowment for the Arts  Jazz Masters recipient
  • 2008 Funk Tango won Best Latin Jazz Album  50th Annual Grammy Awards
  • 2011 Panamericana Suite won Best Latin Jazz Album  12th Annual Latin Grammy Awards
  • 2012 Honorary Doctoral Degree from the State University of New York at Old Westbury


  • 197879 Irakere CBS Records LP35655
  • 1979 Havana Jam LP PC2/36053 (incorrectly "P. Rivera" on label)
  • 1981 God Rest Ye Merry Jazzmen CBS Records LP37551 D'Rivera appears as Guest Artist in "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
  • 1981 Paquito D'Rivera Blowin' CBS Records FC37374
  • 1982 Mariel CBS Records FC38177
  • 1983 The Young Lions Elektra/Musicians 60*196 D'Rivera appears as Guest Artist
  • 1983 Paquito D'Rivera Live at the Keystone Korner CBS Records FC38899
  • 1984 Paquito D'Rivera Why Not! CBS Records FC39584
  • 1985 Explosion CBS Records JZ*20038
  • 1987 Paquito D'Rivera Manhattan Burn CBS Records FC40583
  • 1988 Paquito D'Rivera Celebration CBS Records C44077
  • 1989 If Only You Knew Victor Mendoza L&R Records CDLR450*19 D'Rivera appears as Guest Artist
  • 1989 Libre-Echange Free Trade/Gerald Danovitch Saxophone Quartet CBC JazzImage 2-0118
  • 1989 Paquito D'Rivera Tico Tico Chesky Records JD34
  • 1989 Return to Ipanema Town Crier TCD516 (Re-issued by Town Crier as Paquito D'Rivera)
  • 1989 Live at Royal Festival Hall Dizzy Gillespie & The United Nation Orchestra Enja RZ 79658 (USA: Mesa/Blue Moon 79658) D'Rivera appears as Guest Artist
  • 1990 Live at Birdland Claudio Roditi Candid 79515
  • 1991 Reunion/Paquito D'Rivera Featuring Arturo Sandoval Messidor CD-15805-2 re-released *2004 Pimienta Records 245,360,610-2
  • 1991 Havana Cafe Chesky Records JD60
  • 1992 Paquito D'Rivera Who's Smokin'?! with James Moody Candid CCD79523
  • 1992 La Habana-Rio Conexión (The Havana-Rio Connection) Messidor 158*20-2
  • 1993 Paquito D'Rivera Presents 40 Years of Cuban Jam Session Messidor 15826-2
  • 1994 Paquito D'Rivera & The United Nation Orchestra/A Night in Englewood Messidor 15829-2
  • 1995 The Caribbean Jazz Project Artists: Paquito D'Rivera/Dave Samuels/Andy Narell Heads Up International HUCD 3033/HUMC 3033
  • 1996 Messidor's Finest Volume 1 Paquito D'Rivera Messidor 15841-2 Compilation
  • 1996 First Take (Groovin' High) Ed Cherry (France) A Division of Polygram D'Rivera performs in "Achango's Dance"
  • 1996 Portraits of Cuba Paquito D'Rivera Chesky Records JD145
  • 1996 Paquito D'Rivera presents Cuba Jazz featuring Bebo and Chucho Valdés RMM/TropiJazz RMD 82016
  • 1997 Paquito D'Rivera Chamber Music from the South featuring Pablo Zinger and Gustavo Tavares Recorded in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Mix House MH0002
  • 1997 Pixinguinha 100 Años/Alfredo da Rocha Vianna Filho Recorded Live at Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil January, *1997 D'Rivera performs as Guest Artist in "Naquele Tempo" and "Um A Zero"
  • 1997 Caribbean Jazz Project Island Stories/Paquito D'Rivera/Dave Samuels/Andy Narell Heads Up HUCD3039
  • 1997 Baksa for Winds Bronx Arts Ensemble D'Rivera performs "Alto Sax Sonata" Newport Classic NPD85624
  • 1997 Paquito D'Rivera & The United Nation Orchestra Live at MCG Recorded live at Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 14 February, *1997 Jazz MCG1003 (Blue Jackel)
  • 1998 Paquito D'Rivera 100 Years of Latin Love Songs Heads Up International Ltd. INAK 30452
  • 1998 Musica de Dos Mundos/Music from Two Worlds Paquito D'Rivera/Brenda Feliciano/Aldo Antognazzi Recorded December, *1998 in Argentina Acqua Records aq 012
  • 1999 Paquito D'Rivera  Habanera Absolute Ensemble/Kristjan Jarvi Enja Records ENJ-9395 2 Recorded September, *1999 at Clinton Studio, NYC features D'Rivera compositions and appears as Guest Artist
  • 1999 Paquito D'Rivera Cubarama Termidor Musikverlag Recorded May, *1999 Compilation
  • 1999 Paquito D'Rivera Tropicana Nights/Un Paraíso Bajo Las Estrellas De Cuba Chesky Records JD186 Recorded April *2021, *1999
  • 2000 Paquito D'Rivera Quintet Live at the Blue Note Half Note Records 516*20 Recorded New York, August *20, *1999
  • 2001 Jazz Latino/A Collection of Latin Inspirations Chesky Records JD212 Features D'Rivera compositions "Peanut Vendor" and "Chucho" and appears as Guest Artist
  • 2001 Turtle Island String Quartet/Danzon Koch International Classics KIC-CD-7529 Features D'Rivera compositions and appears as Guest Artist
  • 2001 Mexico City Woodwind Quintet/Visiones Panamericanas Urtext Digital Classics JB CC051 performing D'Rivera composition "Wapango"
  • 2001 Calle 54 OST, from Fernando Trueba's film
  • 2002 Paquito D'Rivera & The WDR Band/Big Band Time Termidor Musikverlag & Timba Records 59773-2
  • 2002 Historia Del Soldado (L' Histoire du Soldat) DD&R CB R014 Distributed by KARONTE Impresión: A.G.S ISBN 84-95561-15-8
  • 2002 Paquito D'Rivera/Brazilian Dreams Featuring the New York Voices and Claudio Roditi Manchester Craftsmen's Guild MCGJ 1010
  • 2002 Paquito D'Rivera/The Clarinetist Featuring Gustavo Tavares, Pablo Zinger, Niels-Henning Örsted-Pedersen, Wolfgang Haffner, Frank Chastenier, Pernel Saturino and European Art Orchestra. Universal Records 160523
  • 2002 The Best of Paquito D'Rivera Legacy/Sony Records International SICP 5044 Compilation
  • 2002 The American Saxophone Quartet with Paquito D'Rivera The Commission Project (Paquito D'Rivera/Franco D'Rivera) Sons of Sound Recorded Music SSPCD009
  • 2004 Riberas/Paquito D'Rivera Cuarteto de Cuerdas Buenos Aires EpsaMusic 0500-02
  • 2004 Paquito D'Rivera The Jazz Chamber Trio with Mark Summer, cello and Alon Yavnai, piano Chesky Records JD293
  • 2005 Amazon River  Hendrik Meurkens Blue Toucan Music D'Rivera appears as Guest Artist in "Lingua de Mosquito" and "The Peach"
  • 2006 Musica Para Los Amigos/ Paquito Para Los Amigos Sony/ BMG 828768*19032 Compilation
  • 2006 Caribbean Jazz Project/ Mosaic Concord Music Group, Inc. CCD 30033-2 D'Rivera appears as Guest Artist on numerous tracks
  • 2008 Sebastian Schunke/ Paquito D'Rivera Back in New York with Antonio Sanchez, John Benitez, Pernell Saturnino, Anders Nilsson (Connector)
  • 2009 Paquito D'Rivera/Chano Domínguez  Quartier Latin, lky records
  • 2009 Paquito D'Rivera  Jazz Clazz
  • 2010 Panamericana Suite, MCG Jazz

As sideman

With Dizzy Gillespie

  • Live at the Royal Festival Hall (Enja, 1989)
  • Bird Songs: The Final Recordings (Telarc, 1992)
  • To Bird with Love (Telarc, 1992)

With Lalo Schifrin

  • More Jazz Meets the Symphony (Atlantic, 1993)
  • Firebird: Jazz Meets the Symphony No. 3 (Four Winds, 1995)


  1. Latin Grammy Awards
  2. Grammy Awards
  3. "Killer Chic: Hollywood's Sick Love Affair with Che Guevara"
  4. Paquito D'Rivera Biography. Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.. Retrieved on 2008-11-13.
  5. Independent Music Awards  Past Judges
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Paquito DRivera Quintet  The Band".
  7. Harrigan, Tom, Alejandro Sanz tops list of Latin Grammy Awards winners, The Daily Gazette, 31 October 2001. URL accessed on 7 February 2013.
  8. Heinis, John (June 1, 2012). "Paquito D'Rivera, other Latin legends see their stars unveiled in ceremony at Celia Cruz Plaza in Union City".

External links

  • Official website
  • Paquito D'Rivera @ Boosey & Hawkes
  • World largest and most complete discography of Paquito D'Rivera

This page was last modified 23.03.2014 15:47:09

This article uses material from the article Paquito D'Rivera from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.