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Biography of

Paquito D'Rivera

4 jun 1948 (Havana) -
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Paquito D'Rivera
Born June 4, 1948 (1948-06-04) (age 62)
Origin Havana, Cuba
Genres Bebop, Afro-Cuban jazz, Latin jazz, post bop
Occupations Clarinetist, saxophonist
Instruments Alto saxophone, clarinet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, flute
Years active 1970s – present
Labels Messidor, Columbia, Chesky Records
Associated acts Caribbean Jazz Project

Paquito D'Rivera (born 4 June 1948 in Havana, Cuba) is a Cuban alto saxophonist, clarinetist and soprano saxophonist.



Paquito was a child prodigy. He started learning music at the age of 5 with his father Tito Rivera, a well-known classical saxophonist and conductor in Cuba.

D'Rivera grew up in Cuba, playing both saxophone and clarinet and performing with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra at a young age.

When he was seven, became the youngest artist ever to endorse a musical instrument, when he signed on with the music company Selmer.

By 1980, D'Rivera was dissatisfied about the constraints placed on his music in Cuba for many years, and had always longed to come to the United States. 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 help from many people for him and his family. His mother Maura and his sister Rosario had left Cuba in 1968 and had become US citizens. Many notables who reached out to help Paquito were Dizzy Gillespie, David Amram, Mario Bauza and Bruce Lundvall, who gave him first solo recording date. D'Rivera quickly earned respect among American jazz musicians and 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).

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.[1]

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 Royal Symphony, Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, Bronx Arts Ensemble, Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, Costa Rican Symphony Orchestra, American Youth Philharmonic, and Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra.

D'Rivera is an Artist in Residence at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and artistic director of the Festival International de Jazz en el Tambo in Uruguay. He is also a member of the Alon Yavnai-Paquito D'Rivera Duet and the Jazz Chamber Trio.

He has also written a memoir entitled My Sax Life.

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.

D'Rivera was a judge for the 5th and 8th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists. [2]

Awards and nominations

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


  • 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 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
  • 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, February 14, *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 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
  • 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 Craftmen’s Guild MCGJ 1010
  • 2002 Paquito D’Rivera/The Clarinetist Universal Records 160523
  • 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
  • 2004 Riberas/Paquito D’Rivera Cuarteto de Cuerdas Buenos Aires EpsaMusic 0500-02
  • 2004 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
  • 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


External links

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Paquito D'Rivera. Allthough most Wikipedia articles provide accurate information accuracy can not be guaranteed.
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