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Paquito D'Rivera: Jack of All Trades

By Published: December 18, 2008

AAJ: Clarinet versus saxophone. What are the differences in approach? Which is your favorite?

PD: These instruments are cousins, but they are totally different, like the contrabass and the bass guitar or the grand piano and the Moog. The clarinet is a very demanding instrument, very easy to make it sound like shit. That's why there are so few of us out there these days. The saxophone is a blessing; a much more versatile and "reasonable" instrument. More expressive. One of the greatest musical inventions of all times.

AAJ: You have upcoming performances at Dizzy's Club focusing on Cuban jazz. You will also be doing concerts at the Rose Theater with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. What kind of a repertoire will you be doing with the JALC Orchestra?

PD: It looks like this is my "Cuban Year" in Jazz at Lincoln Center. I already did a "Latins in Jazz" concert with Wynton [Marsalis] and the big band in December 2007 and now we'll have a concert just with Cuban composers like Ernesto Lecuona, Mario Bauza, Chico O'Farrill, Armando Romeu and Leo Brouwer. ...For our yearly Christmas and New Year's Eve week at Dizzy's Club—I've become a kind of Cuban Guy Lombardo for Jazz at Lincoln Center—an entirely young Cuban group with a whole new repertoire will be on the stage with me.

AAJ: And what do you do in your spare time besides sleep?

PD: Drive around with my beautiful baby blue Chevy Bel Air 1957.

Selected Discography:

Paquito D'Rivera, Funk Tango, (Sunnyside, 2006)

Caribbean Jazz Project, Mosaic, (Concord Picante, 2006)
Paquito D-Rivera, The Jazz Chamber Trio, (Chesky Records, 2005)
Paquito D'Rivera, Live at the Blue Note, (Half Note, 2002)
Paquito D'Rivera, Brazilian Dreams, (MCG Jazz, 2001)
Paquito D'Rivera, Tropicana Nights(Chesky Records, 1999)
Paquito D'Rivera, 100 Years of Latin Love Songs, (Heads Up, 1998)
Paquito D'Rivera, Portraits of Cuba, (Chesky, 1996)

Paquito D'Rivera, Who's Smoking?! (with James Moody), (Candid, 1991)

Paquito D'Rivera, Havana Café, (Chesky Records, 1991)
Paquito D'Rivera, Reunion, (Messidor, 1991)
Paquito D'Rivera, Tico! Tico!, (Chesky, 1989)

Dizzy Gillespie, Live at the Royal Festival Hall, (Enja, 1989)

Paquito D'Rivera, Paquito Blowin, (Columbia, 1981)

Irakere, Eponymous, (Columbia, 1978)

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