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Alto saxophonist/clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera presents his album, Funk Tango, under the group name "The Paquito D'Rivera Quintet?. "Quintet refers to his working group of trumpeter/valve trombonist Diego Urcola, pianist Alon Yavnai, electric bassist Oscar Stagnaro and drummer Mark Walker. The "? highlights the group's flexibility through use of additional musicians or smaller configurations. Guests include percussionist Pernell Saturnino, bandoneonist Hector Del Curto, cajon player Pablo Stagnaro and pianists Ed Simon and Fernando Otero. The assured playing of the core quintet, complimented by these additional musicians, creates a diverse and exciting recording.
There are several tango experimentations alongside material reflecting a varied collection of Latin jazz influences. Astor Piazzolla's classic "Revirado imparts the most obvious tango presence, with Del Curto solidifying the Piazzolla influence through his rhythmic and passionate bandoneon work. "What About That? is a lively Brazilian piece, filled with some inspired soloing over both Baião and Samba rhythms. The Cuban "Contradanza serves up some playful interplay between D'Rivera (on clarinet) and Yavnai. Stagnaro's "Mariela's Dream explores a combination of Peruvian rhythms and jazz, the result glowing with beauty. The diversity and musical savvy of the entire album travels from start to finish.
D'Rivera's core quintet reflects a strong group aesthetic and trust, built over years of playing together. D'Rivera continues his melodic combination of Charlie Parker and Chano Pozo on alto, while making the clarinet sing in a heartfelt and personal way, while Urcola brings his established musical voice to the mix. As a rhythm section, Yavnai, Stagnaro, and Walker remain true to each country's authentic rhythms and musical approaches, while rooting them in a clear jazz aesthetic. The overall musicianship is in full force throughout, creating an interesting musical trip.
D'Rivera has built a strong musical presence with his recorded works, and his track record holds true with Funk Tango. His compositions and choice of repertoire are musically challenging and entertaining. He continues to pull outstanding performances out of his musicians, balanced with fire and grace. His love of jazz and Latin American musical traditions shines through every moment of this recording. After fifty years in the music business, D'Rivera plays with the finesse of a seasoned pro and the eager energy of a child. It is refreshing and invigorating at the same time, the fire of Funk Tango making it a rewarding listen again and again..
Track Listing: Pere; What About That?; Revirado; Contradanza; Milonga 10; Last Waltz; Funk-Tango; Mariela's Dream; La Yumba/Caravan; Como Un Bolero; Giant Steps.
Personnel: Paquito D'Rivera: alto sax, clarinet; Diego Urcola: trumpet, valve trombone; Alon Yavnai: piano; Oscar Stagnaro: electric bass; Marc Walker: drums; Pernell Saturnino: percussion; Hector Del Curto: bandoneon; Pablo Stagnaro: cajon; Ed Simon: piano; Fernando Otero: piano.