Paquito D'Rivera

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Paquito D'Rivera
Trio Corrente Paquito D'Rivera Horizonte 2015 4578.jpg
D'Rivera in 2015
Background information
Born (1948-06-04) 4 June 1948 (age 68)
Origin Havana, Cuba
Genres Bebop, Afro-Cuban jazz, Latin jazz, post-bop
Occupation(s) Clarinetist, saxophonist
Instruments Alto saxophone, clarinet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, flute
Years active 1970s–present
Labels Sunnyside Records, Paquito Records
Associated acts Paquito D'Rivera Quintet, Trío Corrente, Caribbean Jazz Project
Website Official website

Paquito D'Rivera (born June 4, 1948 in Cuba) is an alto saxophonist, clarinetist and soprano saxophonist. The winner of 14 Grammy Awards, he is celebrated both for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Havana, Cuba, he performed at age 10 with the National Theater Orchestra, studied at the Havana Conservatory of Music and, at 17, became a featured soloist with the Cuban National Symphony.[1]


By 1980, D'Rivera had become 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/70s, and that a meeting with Che Guevara sparked his desire to leave Cuba.[2] 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 became U.S. citizens. Maura had worked in the U.S. in the fashion industry for many years, and Rosario was now a respected artist/entrepreneur. He 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).[citation needed]

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.[3]

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.[citation needed]

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.[4]

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

Paquito D'Rivera with the Trio Corrente 2015 at the Horizonte world music festival at Ehrenbreitstein Fortress

Paquito D'Rivera Quintet[edit]

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[edit]

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



U.S. President George W. Bush stands with recipients of the 2005 National Medal of Arts on 9 November 2005, in the Oval Office.


1978 - 1989

  • 1978–79 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 - 1999

  • 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 *20–21, *1999

2000 - 2009

  • 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
  • 2001 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
  • 2001 Paquito D'Rivera – The Clarinetist: Volume 1 Peregrina Music PM50221
  • 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 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
  • 2002 Caribbean Jazz Project - The Gathering, Concord Records CCD 2125-2 Paquito D'Rivera appears as Guest Artist in “Rendezvous” and “Bemsha Swing”
  • 2004 Riberas/Paquito D'Rivera Cuarteto de Cuerdas Buenos Aires EpsaMusic 0500-02
  • 2004 Yo-Yo Ma - Obrigado Brazil - Live in Concert Sony Classical SK 90970 D’Rivera appears as Guest Artist in “Libertango,” “Merengue,” “Wapango,” “Doce de coco,” “Afro,” “Aquarela do Brasil,” and “So Danco Samba”
  • 2005 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
  • 2006 Diego Urcola - Viva Camsois, Paquito D'Rivera appears as Guest Artist on “40/40”, “Afroraffo” and “Emilia”
  • 2007 Paquito D'Rivera Quintet - Funk Tango Sunnyside Records SSC4551
  • 2007 Yo-Yo Ma - Appassionato, Sony Classical 88697-026682, Paquito D’Rivera appears as Guest Artist in "Doce de coco"
  • 2008 Yo-Yo Ma – Songs of Joy & Peace, Sony Classical B001BN1V8U, Paquito D’Rivera appears as Guest Artist in "Invitación al Danzón"
  • 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 Quintet - Jazz Clazz, Timba Records, with special guests Trio Clarone with Sabine Meyer, Reiner Wehle, Wolfgang Meyer

2010 - 2014

  • 2010 Panamericana Suite, MCG Jazz Recording, with Pedro Martinez (batas, timbales, vocals), Pernell Saturnino (percussion), Oscar Stagnaro (bass), and Mark Walker (percussion)
  • 2010 Paquito D'Rivera "TANGO JAZZ, Live from Jazz at Lincoln Center" with the Pablo Aslan Ensemble. Paquito Records release with Sunnyside Records.
  • 2010 Paquito D'Rivera presents Alex Brown - Pianist, Paquito Records, Alex Brown with guest artists Paquito D’Rivera (Alto Sax and Clarinet), Warren Wolf (Marimba), Vivek Patel (Trumpet), Ben Williams (Bass), Eric Doob (Drums), Pedro Martinez (Percussion)
  • 2010 Terra Incognita - E1 Music, Imani Winds (Woodwind Quintet, featuring Paquito D’Rivera composition "Kites" (two movements "Kites over Havana" and Wind Chimes") and guest artist with Alex Brown, piano.
  • 2012 Paquito D'Rivera & Berta Rojas "Dia Y Medio a Day and a Half" OnMusic Recordings, Paquito D’Rivera (clarinet, saxophone), and Berta Rojas (classical guitar)
  • 2013 Paquito D'Rivera & Trio Corrente "Song for Maura" Sunnyside Records/Paquito Records, Paquito D’Rivera (clarinet, saxophone), Fabio Torres (piano), Paulo Paulelli (contrabass), Edu Ribeiro (drums).
  • 2014 Paquito D'Rivera Sextet “Jazz Meets the Classics” Sunnyside Records/Paquito Records, Paquito D’Rivera (clarinet, saxophone), Diego Urcola (trumpeter/trombonist), Alex Brown (pianist), Oscar Stagnaro (bassist), Arturo Stable (percussionist), Mark Walker (drummer), Pepe Rivero (guest pianist).

As sideman[edit]

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Lalo Schifrin


  1. ^ a b "Official Website Bio". Paquito D'Rivera Website. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "Hollywood's Sick Love Affair with Che Guevara",; accessed November 16, 2014.
  3. ^ "Paquito D'Rivera Biography". Boosey & Hawkes, Inc. Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  4. ^ D'Rivera criticizes Carlos Santana over Che Guevara T-shirt,; accessed November 16, 2014.
  5. ^ Independent Music Awards – Past Judges,; accessed November 16, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Paquito D'Rivera Quintet – The Band". Retrieved January 24, 2013. 
  7. ^ Harrigan, Tom (October 31, 2001). "Alejandro Sanz tops list of Latin Grammy Awards winners". The Daily Gazette. Retrieved February 7, 2013. 
  8. ^ Heinis, John. "Paquito D'Rivera, other Latin legends see their stars unveiled in ceremony at Celia Cruz Plaza in Union City", The Jersey Journal, June 1, 2012. Accessed September 10, 2015. "Global icon Paquito D'Rivera, 63, a seven-time Grammy-award winner, received a star yesterday. The reed man, known mostly for his high-flying Latin jazz music, moved to the United States from Cuba in 1980. He currently resides in North Bergen."
  9. ^ "2014 Best Latin Jazz Album". 15th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "2013 Best Latin Jazz Album". GRAMMY Awards. 

External links[edit]