WCSU

Artist Profiles - Saxophonist and Clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera

Credit Lane Pederson/Courtesy of the artist

Paquito D'Rivera is a alto saxophonist, clarinetist and soprano saxophonist. The winner of fourteen Grammy Awards, he is celebrated both for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer.

Born in Havana, Cuba in 1948, Paquito D'Rivera began as somewhat of a child prodigy.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. 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.

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.

The band backing D'Rivera consists of Peruvian bassist Oscar Stagnaro, Argentinean trumpeter Diego Urcola, American drummer Mark Walker, and pianist Alex Brown. As a whole they are named the "Paquito D'Rivera Quintet" 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.