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Paquito DíRivera Quintet at Birdland

- Jazz and Cabaret Performance Reviews

Paquito DíRivera Quintet
(Paquito DíRivera Bio)
At Birdland
315 West 44th Street, NYC
Gianni Valenti, Owner
Andy Kaufman, Business Manager
Tarik Osman, Manager

See Other Birdland Reviews 1

Paquito DíRivera on Saxophones
Diego Urcola on Trumpet
Alon Yavnai on Piano
Massimo Biolcati on Bass
Mark Walker on Drums

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 12, 2004

Paquito DíRivera is a personable and warm musician, who engages his fans immediately with self-deprecating humor and witty anecdotes. The first piece in this second set was led by Paquito on sax, followed by Diego Urcola on trumpet. Beginning with a Latin rhythm, It Donít Mean a Thing, if It Ainít Got that Swing merged into a conventional swing later on. Crystal, written with Cesar Camargo, was recorded with cello accompaniment by Yo-Yo Ma. An Argentinean Nuevo Tango-Jazz fusion, written by Alon Yavnai, was wild and exotic with a nice sax solo for Paquito in jazz idiom, followed by an extended Tango riff by Yavnai.

Brussels in the Rain, written by Toots Thielmans, featured a soprano sax ballad with lilting and romantic passages. I imagined a foxtrot, and muted trumpet preceded Massimo Biolcatiís long bass solo along with Mark Walkerís pulsating percussion. The Birdland lighting was extremely effective for this event, as the musicians glowed in the darkness. Paquito switched to alto sax, and the trills rippled like waves. In Memories, Paquito again alternated saxophones and alternated styles, from classical to Latin. The mambo beat found Walker infusing clave rhythm, before Urcola joined Paquito for a trumpet/saxophone duet.

Paquito turned to evocative music of Lecuona for a long solo reminiscent of the music of Cachao, very Cuban, very sensual. With Yavnai creating a rag motif on piano, I wondered if a Cuban Rag had just been invented tonight at Birdland. Rhumba and classical joined this final piece, followed by an encore on demand. Piazzolla (Nuevo Tango) appeared in splendor, resonant and rarified, and Urcola fashionably fused it to his versatile jazz trumpet. Hopefully, Gianni Valenti will bring Paquito DíRivera back to Birdland very soon.

Mark Walker and Guest, Jim Ridl
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Paquito D' Rivera and Alon Yavnai
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Mark Walker on Drums
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Paquito D'Rivera on Saxophone
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Diego Urcola on Trumpet and Massimo Biolcati on Bass
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Paquito, Massimo, Alon
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Tarik Osman, Paquito, Gianni Valenti
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at