Pianist Paquito Hechavarria, began his professional career as a teenage prodigy in the mid-1950s in his native Cuba. His impressive resume reads like a historical document of the Golden Age of Cuban music.
Hechavarria was already an established musician in 1955 playing with the Conjunto Colonial de Nelo Sosa. He was pianist with Conjunto Senen Suarez in 1957. By 1958 he was involved in the Club Cubano de Jazz, which was musical group featured at the famed Salon Arcos de Cristal de Tropicana, the same year he was also in Conjunto Casino. In 1960 he was the pianist and vibraphonist in Los Armonicos the most popular combo of the day.
Paquito played for several prestigious bands of the era including replacing the legendary pianist Peruchin in Havana’s number one big band, Orquesta Riverside when Peruchin formed his own band.
Still in 1960 Paquito Hechavarria recorded with Mongo Santamaria and Willie Bobo who were visiting Cuba, an album that turned out to be the last recording made in Cuba for a US label, the landmark “Our Man In Havana” for Fantasy Records. Shortly thereafter Paquito left Cuba for Miami where he has lived ever since recording several albums as a leader and being part of hundreds of other recordings as a sideman in many different genres.
His 2010 release “Frankly,” is his tribute to the songs made famous by Frank Sinatra, done very much with a distinguished Cuban flair and influence.
Source: James Nadal