Paquito D’Rivera - clarinet and saxophone Diego Urcola - trumpet and valve trombone Alex Brown - piano Oscar Stagnaro - bass Mark Walker - drums
The 25th season of the Symphony Center Presents Jazz series continues on Friday, March 8, at 8 p.m., with the Symphony Center debut of 14-time Grammy Award-winning clarinetist and saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera and his quintet. Cuban pianist and composer Alfredo Rodríguez joins acclaimed Cuban percussionist Pedrito Martinez to open the program.
Cuban clarinetist and saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera effortlessly moves among jazz, classical and Cuban traditions and intertwines elements from each to bring joyous, innovative music that is distinctly his own. Though D’Rivera’s name is prominently associated with the Afro-Cuban jazz supergroup Irakere, he has gone on to lead many successful groups of his own, bringing his distinctive brand of classical-streaked Latin jazz to audiences around the world. In their first appearance together at Symphony Center, D’Rivera’s quintet—which includes Peruvian bassist Oscar Stagnaro, Argentinean trumpeter and trombonist Diego Urcola, American drummer Mark Walker and American pianist Alex Brown—performs highlights from their Grammy Award-winning 2014 album, as well as a variety of beloved compositions from throughout D’Rivera’s 50-plus-year career.
The unique, collaborative sound of the Alfredo Rodríguez and Pedrito Martinez Duo combines Rodríguez’s classical and jazz schooling with Martinez’s musical roots in the Cayo Hueso neighborhood of Old Havana, where he grew up. They first joined forces in Rodríguez’s 2014 release Invasion Parade, co-produced by Quincy Jones, which explored Rodríguez’s memories of Cuba. Since that first recording, the pair of have explored this collaboration further with the release of their album Duologueon Mack Avenue Records earlier this month. The pared-down instrumentation allows each musician’s virtuosity to shine, with Martinez adding earthy vocals to his propulsive drumming and Rodríguez filling out the orchestration with shimmering, virtuosic solos and grooving montuno rhythms.
Their repertoire includes original tunes firmly planted in the jazz and Afro-Cuban traditions, as well as funky, playful takes on Michael Jackson hits and video game themes.
Fourteen-time Grammy Award-winning clarinetist and composer Paquito D’Rivera is the only artist ever to win Grammy Awards in both Classical and Latin categories from his discography of more than 40 albums. After he graduated from the Havana Conservatory of Music in 1960, he was a featured soloist with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra and later appeared with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony and others. D’Rivera’s work has been commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Library of Congress and the Grant Park Music Festival. He was a founding member of Irakere and later went on to lead the Paquito D’Rivera Quintet. D’Rivera has been recognized with a number of awards including the NEA Jazz Masters Award in 2005 and the National Medal of the Arts in 2005. He serves as Artistic Director of the Festival International de Jazz de Punta Del Este in Uruguay.
Cuban artist, pianist and composer Alfredo Rodríguez has received global recognition as a Grammy-nominee with four critically acclaimed releases on Mack Avenue Records including his most recent, The Little Dream(2018). Rodriguez trained as a classical pianist in Havana at the Manuel Saumell Conservatory, the Amadeo Roldán Music Conservatory and the Instituto Superior de Arte. Rodríguez stepped onto the global stage after earning the attention of music producer Quincy Jones at the 2006 Montreux Jazz Festival, and he has gone on to perform at international festivals and collaborate with artists such as Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Esperanza Spalding and Lionel Loueke.
Cuban-born percussionist and vocalist Pedrito Martinez has collaborated with esteemed artists including Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon, Paquito D’Rivera and Bruce Springsteen. Soon after moving to New York City from Havana, Cuba, in 1998, he received the Thelonious Monk Award for Afro-Latin Hand Percussion. In 2005, he formed the Pedrito Martinez Group, which received a Grammy nomination and praise from NPR and The Boston Globefor their self-titled debut album in 2013. In 2016, the group released its second album, Habana Dreams, which included guest artists Rubén Blades, Wynton Marsalis and Telmary Diaz. Recorded in the historic Egrem Studio in Havana, the album was named #1 Latin Jazz Album in NPR’s Top Jazz Albums for 2016 and was among the Boston Globe’sBestWorld Music Albums of 2016.
Tickets for all Symphony Center Presents Jazz series concerts can be purchased by phone at 800‑223‑7114 or 312-294‑3000, online at cso.org or at the SymphonyCenter box office: 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.