Personalities | Paquito D’Rivera | Eighties | Jazz & Blues
(Saxophone, clarinet, b. 1948)
Growing up in Havana, D’Rivera saw many legendary Cuban musicians, but it was a Benny Goodman recording that inspired him to play jazz. He performed with the National Theater Orchestra of Havana at the age of 10, and in 1973 joined with eight other musicians to form Irakere, which fused jazz, rock and Cuban music in an exhilarating hybrid. In 1981, D’Rivera defected to the US and made his recording debut as a leader with Paquito Blowin’. He released a string of recordings during the decade and in 1988 joined Dizzy Gillespie’s 15-piece United Nations Orchestra. Since then he has led small group recordings that highlight his virtuosity.
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