PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Paquito D'Rivera: The Best of Paquito D'Rivera

Marshall Bowden

Paquito D'rivera

The Best of Paquito D'Rivera

Label: Legacy
US Release Date: 2002-03-12
UK Release Date: 2002-03-25
Amazon
iTunes

Paquito D'Rivera was a child prodigy who began playing music at the age of five. His father, Tito, was well-known saxophonist and conductor in Cuba. After performing at the National Theatre in Havana at the age of ten, D'Rivera began studies at the Havana conservatory. He continued to perform throughout his teenage years as well as co-founding the Orchestra Cubana de Musica Moderna. Several members of this group collaborated with D'Rivera to form the band Irakere, a jazz-rock group who was clearly influenced by traditional and classical Cuban music and who became the first Cuban musicians since the revolution to record in the U.S.

In 1981, while on tour in Spain, D'Rivera sought asylum with the American Embassy there, and left his homeland. It was at this point that he recorded the series of albums for Columbia Records that form the basis of The Best of Paquito D'Rivera. The first two, Paquito Blowin' and Mariel, recorded in '81 and '82 respectively, helped to increase D'Rivera's recognition with American audiences. He's become increasingly known as a composer as his career has progressed, but he was already composing some excellent material in the early '80s. "Monk-Tuno", for example, is a wacky Monk-like angular melody set against a funky bass and laced with Latin percussion. "Song for My Son" is a melody of stunning beauty played with a clear, clean alto sound that was unusual at the time, owing much more to Charlie Parker than to the harsh tone being utilized at the time by top studio musicians such as Tom Scott.

D'Rivera also kept some amazing company, both on these recordings and in his live work. The Columbia recordings sample here find him collaborating with such accomplished musicians as Eddie Gomez, Hilton Ruiz, Randy Brecker, Claudio Roditi, Michel Camilo (who also composed some fine tunes for the sessions and whose latest recording, Triangulo, is not to be missed), and Makoto Ozone. This makes the set doubly interesting, since not only do you get the incredible sax and clarinet work of D'Rivera but the considerable talents of his sidemen as well. Columbia should have provided personnel listings for the tracks, though, since most of the albums in question are not currently available on CD.

At the same time as these albums were recorded, D'Rivera was touring with Dizzy Gillespie, spreading the gospel of Afro-Cuban jazz around the world. You can hear a modernized version of Dizzy's "Manteca" here, from the Why Not! Album. It is a great arrangement by D'Rivera and Helen Keane, marred only by the occasional exclamation of an ersatz synthesized "horn section". The real horn section is excellent, as are the solo contributions of pianist Michel Camilo and harmonica player Toots Thielemans. Live at the Keystone Korner was also a nice piece of Afro-Cuban roots jazz, and is represented here by "Song For Maura", a Paquito original.

By the time Explosion was released in 1986, D'Rivera was experimenting with virtually every style available, from near-smooth jazz to funk and beyond. "Just Kiddin'", a Michel Camilo composition from the album, demonstrates the huge sound and varied elements that were going into Paquito's music at this time-check out his quote from "Salt Peanuts" that opens his fiery solo. In 1988, D'Rivera released Celebration and became a U.S. citizen. "Wapango" features a stunning neo-classical string arrangement that is unlike anything D'Rivera had done before. Unfortunately, Columbia saw fit to drop D'Rivera after the release of this album.

D'Rivera became a founding member of Dizzy Gillespie's United Nation Orchestra and continued to lead the band after Gillespie's death in 1993. He's recorded for an array of labels since then and continues to produce music that is an authentic blending of jazz, Latin, and African elements and rhythms. Much of his post-Columbia work has presented a more authentic, less popularized look at the music of his native Cuba. His Columbia work, however, offers a combination of jazz, funk, fusion, and Afro-Cuban elements that is unique to its time. Perhaps this compilation is a test balloon by Columbia to gauge the interest in the full albums, but it is clear that some of D'Rivera's work from this period should again see the light of day.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.

Music

Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."

Music

50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.

Film

Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.

Film

The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.

Music

Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.

Music

'Waiting Out the Storm' with Jeremy Ivey

On Waiting Out the Storm, Jeremy Ivey apologizes for present society's destruction of the environment and wonders if racism still exists in the future and whether people still get high and have mental health issues.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.