La Habana: Rio Conexion is saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera's attempt to bring the gospel of historical bolero to American listeners. These 12 cuts are steeped in the grand Cuban tradition and reinsert its cultural and historical center into a music that has been watered down to the point of being nondescript. But, of course, this is also a jazz recording, and D'Rivera is a jazz musician. The rhythmic and harmonic extrapolations are minimal, however, and focus on the integral form of the music whether it be the album's opening danza, Ernesto Lecuona's "La Comparsa," or the chorinho that closes the proceedings, Pixinguinha's "Segura Ele."
This Latin jazz performance by saxophone- and clarinet-player Paquito D'Rivera and pianist Chano Dominguez, along with their ensemble, was recorded at Madrid's Teatro Real in 2006.
The border between classical and jazz music has always been a fluid one, with composers from each camp finding inspiration on both sides of the divide. It wasn t long ago that Darius Milhaud, Igor Stravinsky and Bela Bartok were studying the exciting, extemporaneous new music of jazz musicians. Of course, many jazz musicians were just as transfixed by the historical developments made by classical composers. The Grammy Award winning woodwind master Paquito D Rivera has a long history with classical music. As a young boy, he was introduced to a wide variety of music, from Mozart to Ellington, by his classical saxophone playing father in Cuba. On his new recording Jazz Meets the Classics, D Rivera and his wonderful ensemble have recorded intriguing arrangements of…
Paquito D'Rivera's alto and clarinet skills were ably displayed on this session, which featured him working in Afro-Latin, salsa, funk, swing and hard bop. Compositions ranged from intense, jam-flavored numbers with torrid solos, like "Recife's Blue" and the title tune, to introspective ballads, group pieces with rhythmically explosive sections and numbers displaying classical influences. The unifying force was D'Rivera, who also played tenor, but was most prominent on clarinet, doing both swing-oriented and looser, freer solos.
After Dizzy Gillespie's death in 1991, his colorful Afro-Cuban United Nation Orchestra (which was formed in 1988) was headed by altoist-clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera. With the better-known sidemen on this 1993 CD including first trumpeter Byron Stripling, trombonist Conrad Herwig and tenor saxophonist Mario Rivera, additional solo space was allocated to some of the other talented players as were guest spots for trumpeter Claudio Roditi, trombonist Slide Hampton and vibraphonist Dave Samuels. A Night in Englewood is an easily recommended set. The music is very Latin-oriented and shows that the orchestra had moved away from Gillespie's usual repertoire to exclusively feature originals by bandmembers (including D'Rivera's "I Remember Diz").
As closely associated as he still is with Cuba, from which he defected in 1981, Paquito D’Rivera has often chosen to express his affection for the music of Brazil. Song for Maura (named after his late mother) is the latest example, a collaboration with that country’s Trio Corrente: Fabio Torres (piano), Paulo Paulelli (bass) and Edu Ribeiro (drums). On January 27, 2014, Paquito D’Rivera and Trio Corrente’s new album “Song For Maura” won the “Best Latin Jazz Album” at the 56th annual GRAMMY Awards. Trio Corrente members accepted in person the GRAMMY award on the GRAMMY pre-telecast broadcast through GRAMMY Live.