Submitted by ub on Sat, 10/22/2011 - 17:30

Paquito D'Rivera, born in Cuba, began his career as a child saxophone prodigy. A founding member of the Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna, he directed the group for two years, while at the same time playing both clarinet and saxophone with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. He was also a founding member and co-director of the innovative musical ensemble Irakere, which toured extensively and won a GRAMMY Award in 1979. His first GRAMMY as a solo artist came in 1996 for Portraits of Cuba. Funk Tango, the first release on his new Paquito Records label, won his ninth GRAMMY for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2007. D'Rivera is a recipient of the 2005 National Medal for the Arts and was named one of the 2005 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters. In 2007 he was honored with the Living Jazz Legend Award in a ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. He has gained a reputation as a dynamic composer, winning a 2007 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition and several classical composing commissions. While his discography includes over 30 solo albums in Latin, Bebop and Jazz music, he has also performed solos with countless symphony orchestras. A gifted author, he wrote My Sax Life and the novel Oh, La Habana. D'Rivera’s latest releases are 2010’s Panamericana Suite and Tango Jazz.