Paquito D’Rivera Sextet @ Jazz Standard, 5/1/10


A long way from his birthplace in Cuba, Paquito D’Rivera has done much to bring the Latin sounds of his homeland to the rest of the world. Sunday night at the Jazz Standard in Gramercy, with the Paquito D’Rivera Sextet, was no different.

D’Rivera has a long list of accolades. Being a clarinetist, saxophonist, composer and nine-time Grammy winner, he had no problem leading the band through a lively set. He even entertained the crowd with his funny quips between numbers. If he couldn’t remember which album a compilation was from, he said “buy them all, just in case.”

The band, including D’Rivera, Diego Urcola on trumpet, Alex Brown on piano, Ben Williams on bass, Eric Doob on drums and Arturo Stable on percussion, played two of choro composer Pixinguinha’s pieces. The first was a smooth number named “Lamentos,” and the other was the highlight of the set: a quick, playful piece about a soccer game named “Um a Zero.”

The group also played a couple of D’Rivera’s own compilations, including a fun duet of the horns on “Borat in Syracuse.” Urcola’s notes were sailing to high places in sync with D’Rivera’s own sax on this number, and Stable was fun to watch as his hands furiously beat the conga drums. “I Remember Diz,” a tribute to Dizzy Gillespie, featured a gorgeous solo from D’Rivera on clarinet.

With his kind eyes and good-humored demeanor, D’Rivera makes you feel warm and welcome, and you can almost hear yourself unwind as you listen to his music. The show was the perfect note to end a weekend on.

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