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Paquito D'Rivera and Panamericana at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola
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Paquito D'Rivera and Panamericana at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner

Paquito D’Rivera & Panamericana
(Paquito D’Rivera Website)
Paquito D’Rivera on Clarinet and Alto Saxophone
Dave Samuels on Vibes and Marimba
Andy Narell on Steel Drums
Alon Yavnai on Piano
Dana Leong on Cello and Trombone
Raul Jaurena on Bandoneón
Pernell Saturnino on Drums and Percussion
Oscar Stagnaro on Bass
Mark Walker on Drums

Frederick P. Rose Hall
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola
Broadway at 60th Street
(Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola Website)
Todd Barkan, Artistic Administrator
Scott Thompson, Press

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 29, 2005

(See Paquito D’Rivera Tribute at Carnegie Hall)
(See Paquito D’Rivera and Imani Winds)
(See Alon Yavnai at Fat Cat)
(See Dana Leong at Bösendorfer New York)
(See Dave Samuels with Pablo Ziegler Quartet)

It was good to hear Paquito D’Rivera in a more intimate space tonight, rather than in a large recital hall. He and his Panamerica band gave the sold-out audience (the entire run, all sets, was bar available only) a performance for the memory book, of rousing Latin jazz, with an Argentine Tango flair. Paquito, either on clarinet or alto sax, exudes passion, personality, and presence. In fact, Paquito is charismatic just standing on the sidelines while his musicians take a solo or ensemble riff. These musicians, Alon Yavnai on piano, Dana Leong on both cello and trombone, Dave Samuels on vibes and marimba, Andy Narell on steel drums, Raul Jaurena on bandoneón, Pernell Saturnino on drums and percussion, Oscar Stagnaro on bass, and Mark Walker on drums, are all highly seasoned pros in the jazz and tango scene.

The first piece, performed by the “jazz chamber trio”, with Paquito on clarinet, Dana Leong on cello, and Alon Yavnai on piano, had references to Piazzolla and an omnipresent classical, energized motif. The next work, with most of the band, included Dave Samuels on vibes and Paquito on sax. Dana switched to trombone, with a long, dynamic solo. There were references to samba and Afro-Caribbean rhythm. The steel drums soon carried the theme, somewhat like a “prepared” piano, but with a zing.

Soon, Piazzolla compositions were prominently featured, such as Verano Porteño and Libertango. A fusion of tango and milonga (faster tango) ensued, with a Cuban mélange, just as Raul Jaurena seized the theme with breathless bandoneón. Dave Samuels followed Raul, and the vibes were vivacious. When sax and piano presented a duet, I would have liked to dance to the tempting tango. Andy Narell on steel drums and Dana on cello gave Libertango some interesting twists, both remarkable and resonant, and I thought of this renowned tango, the theme of a film, “The Tango Lesson”.

Pernell Saturnino on drums and percussion, Oscar Stagnaro on bass, and Mark Walker on drums had their solos and combined riffs, as well. This well-tuned and collaborative nonet is a must-see ensemble of energetic and elegant performers, who create an exotic and electric sound. Kudos to Paquito D’Rivera and Panamericana. Kudos to Jazz at Lincoln Center and Todd Barkan.

Alon Yavnai and Wife, Julie, Plus Baby-to-Come-Soon.
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Oscar Stagnaro, Paquito D’Rivera, Andy Narell at Leisure
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

After Hours Set:
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola Website
Deanna Witkowski on Piano
Gino Sitson on Vocals and Hand Percussion

(See A Review of Deanna Witkowski’s CD)

On this same night, the After-Hours Set was presented by Deanna Witkowski on piano and Gino Sitson on vocals and hand percussion, which consists of thigh-slapping and small instruments, played while in a sitting position. As Deanna played much of her own music, with Gino on fascinating, sometimes African, sometimes French vocals and earthy scat, the audience was treated to an impressionistic, somewhat surrealistic set. There were whispery, fading vocals, as well as abstract piano chords. At times, Gino almost did a Miles Davis trumpet imitation, with unusual staccato sound. Deanna’s reverberating chords, combined with Gino’s husky then high accompaniment, generated an African dance motif.

Hilliard Greene, My Guest, Gino Sitson, Deanna Witkowski, Todd Barkan
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

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