SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews
Paquito D’Rivera, reeds – Portraits of Cuba
Published on May 24, 2005
by Carlos Franzetti – Chesky multichannel SACD298, 60:36 ****:
Now this is more like my style of Latin music! D’Rivera is one of the
best performers in jazz today, on clarinet, soprano and alto sax.
Franzetti is a very creative arranger who can present existing music in
imaginative new ways – as he did on his previous Chesky SACD, “The Jazz
Kamerata.” The 13 tracks on this disc cover a century of Cuban music.
Franzetti created his arrangements for D’Rivera and a group of soloists
in a similar fashion to the concerto grosso form of the Baroque period.
He wanted to give the wind instruments led by D’Rivera an equal value
to the always dominant percussion in Cuban music.
In collaborating on the project, D’Rivera and Franzetti had as a model
Miles & Gil Evans’ Sketches of Spain. The idea was a jazz tribute
to Cuban music, rather than a medley of actual Cuban music. D’Rivera
helped select some of the tunes. One of them, Tu, was the very first
tune he had played as a child with his father. There’s a photo of them
performing together. Others that I was familiar with were the familiar
The Peanut Vendor, a tune by Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, and the
closing – the theme from I Love Lucy!
D’Rivera has two of his originals and Franzetti contributes one. The
band is 18 strong and features such names as Jim Pugh on trombone and
Lew Soloff on trumpet. It’s a swingin’ hour in Havana via Chesky’s
superb surround (the venue was a NYC church, not a studio).
- John Henry