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Paquito D'Rivera Sextet and Guests at Blue Note

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner

Paquito D’Rivera Sextet
Paquito D’Rivera on Clarinet and Alto Sax
Alon Yavnai on Piano
Oscar Stagnaro on Bass
Mark Walker on Drums
Diego Urcola on Trumpet
Pernell Saturnino on Percussion

Blue Note
131 West 3rd Street at Sixth Ave.

General Manager: Tom Bailey
Media Contact: Jonathan Kantor

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
August 13, 2006

(See Paquito D’Rivera Tribute at Carnegie Hall.)

During two delightful sets tonight at the always hopping Blue Note, in the heart of Greenwich Village, the warm and effervescent Paquito D’Rivera, on clarinet and alto sax, brought his sextet and guest artists, and the club was electric. Paquito always offers commentary and humor, between the songs, and he was also promoting the English language version of his own book, My Sax Life. His band included Alon Yavnai on piano (frequently reviewed in this magazine), Oscar Stagnaro on bass, Mark Walker on drums, Diego Urcola on trumpet and trombone, and Pernell Saturnino on Latin percussion. The guest artists were Oscar Feldman on saxophone, Victor Prieto on accordion, and a guest vocalist, named Mano.

Paquito entered the club in his Havana white suit, with his band wearing combinations of black and white, very classy. The musicians seized a fused Latin jazz theme, passing the lead from Paquito to Diego, on trumpet. Paquito repeated the clavé rhythms, on the heels of Alon’s melodic refrain. The Blue Note’s Bösendorfer (courtesy of Bösendorfer New York) sang, a piano with a personality. Pernell added zest with his contagious congas. Mark Walker, composer of this piece, kept his drums fused with the music. Diego Urcola wrote the second piece, a combination of Argentine tango and Duke Ellington, called La Yumba Caravan. Exotic percussion enhanced this superb creation of a renowned tango, mixed with Ellington’s signature composition. Paquito improvised in a roller coaster of notes, while Diego extrapolated and slowed down the theme with floating brass effects. Alon kept the tango theme constant, before a Caravan riff.

Paquito told the audience of a recording of one of Alon’s compositions, with the cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, called Peru e Merengue. Paquito was on clarinet for this, with Diego on muted trumpet. There were exotic Middle Eastern intonations, with a “clavé clarinet” and trumpet duo. The backup was passed to Alon, in an echoing and rambunctious theme. Oscar played solo bass, followed by Mark’s and Pernell’s solos with brushes and shakers. Paquito ended the piece with a full band splash. When guests, Oscar Feldman and Mano, appeared, Mano not only sang, but also created trumpet scat vocals in a most engaging manner. Summertime never sounded so good. This was once again a fused Latin jazz, with mixed lyrics and scat. Diego took his trombone, pausing for duo bass and clarinet. Soon a Samba snuck in, and a Brazilian mood ensued. The drums and percussion combined for a rousing duo, followed by Alon’s classical refrain.

The second set began with vibrancy and verve. Diego took over with outsized dynamism, as Paquito took his black and gold sax and mimicked warbling canaries. Both percussionists took off with shakers, steel, and drums. This was a red hot riff. Diego Urcola’s Tango Azul found Paquito tripping up and down the scale. Diego found a rolling rhythm on trumpet, as the tango genre appeared and disappeared. Fiddle Dreams, composed by Paquito for Regina Carter and performed at the Library of Congress, brought out Paquito’s clarinet, playing Regina Carter’s violin theme. Pernell played triangle, Mark played steel, and a staccato, clavé beat, atonal and dizzy, generated a unique sound to this Latin jazz event. When Victor Prieto took the stage with his rich accordion, Libertango, by Piazzolla, resounded through the club with passion and edge. The band kept the original tango theme and thankfully did not over-improvise. The result was a poignant rendition, a bit different from the usual one on bandoneón. Mark Walker propelled the tango rhythm.

Paquito chose Banga, a Dizzy Gillespie piece, for the finale of his one-week, Blue Note run. Afro-Cuban rhythms, lots of steel, and Diego on trombone added to the virtuosity and vivaciousness of this composition. This number raced along, and Victor Prieto remained onstage for an enticing improvisational riff. Pernell’s congas and Mark’s drums catapulted along with pulsating playfulness. Check out to see current and upcoming events at Blue Note. Tell them you saw them on

Paquito D'Rivera Outside Blue Note

Alon Yavnai and Mark Walker at Leisure

Victor Prieto and Diego Urcola at Leisure

Paquito D'Rivera and wife, Brenda Feliciano at Leisure

Mark Fairchild, Asst. Manager, Blue Note

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