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'When the Spirits Dance Mambo' with Paquito D'Rivera

Some artists are so personable that the moment you hear them, you love them. That's Paquito D'Rivera, a fountain of melody, cascading and life-affirming, with a wicked sense of humor.

It's no surprise that Paquito (born in 1948) was a prodigy. His father, Tito Rivera, withdrew from his own saxophone career in Havana, Cuba, to manage his son. Tito traveled with Paquito, the child performer, to stages in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and New York. From Tito's record collection, young Paquito developed a love of jazz. Then the Castro government changed the family's life. Paquito's parents emigrated to Miami. Since Paquito himself left Cuba in 1980, he has taken every opportunity to present the irresistible music of his island worldwide.

He outdoes himself on this JazzSet, entitled "When the Spirits Dance Mambo," from the NJ Performing Arts Center. First, Paquito presents Las Hermanas Marquez -- Trini and Nerza. Having performed at the Tropicana nightclub in Havana with the likes of Celia Cruz, Trini and Nerza Marquez came to New York in 1951. With a third sister, they played the Palladium on Broadway, Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Their original guarachera music comes from the same era as the Buena Vista Social Club, and they are must-hear!

Generoso Jimenez, a.ka. "El Tojo," is the other guest artist from Cuba. The trombonist worked with the legendary vocalist Beny Moré in Havana in the 1950s. Paquito leads an orchestra in his new orchestral composition "Tojo," commissioned by Meet the Composer. The remainder of the program features arrangements by Jimenez -- and yes, they will make you dance.

Guest Steve Turre raises a conch shell and opens the concert. The spirits dance mambo all the way home!


By Las Hermanas Marquez

"A Toda Cuba le Gusta" by Remberto Marquez
"Adios, Compay Gato" by Fernandez Ortiz
"Con Medio Peso" by Jose L. Arcay
"Esto Es Felicidad" by Bobby Collazo

By and for Generoso Jimenez
"Tojo" by Paquito D'Rivera
"Linda Melodia" by Generoso Jimenez
"Para Vigo Me Voy" by Ernesto Lecuona, arr. Jimenez
"Peanut Vendor" by Moises Simon


Paquito D'Rivera, clarinet and alto saxophone

Accompanying Las Hermanas:
David Oquendo, guitar
Alex Alvear, bass
Pernell Saturnino, percussion

The Orchestra:
Oriente Lopez, flute
Manuel Valera, alto
Oscar Feldman, tenor
Marshall McDonald, baritone

Leonardo Timor Jr., trumpet
Diego Urcola, trumpet
Guido Gonzalez, trumpet
Conrad Herwig, trombone
Dana Leong, trombone
Hector Martignon, piano
Oscar Stagnaro, bass
Mark Walker, drums
Tutti Jimenez, drums and percussion
Pernell Saturnino, percussion
Rolando Morales, bongo and conga

Guest artist Steve Turre, seashells and trombone


  • Paquito D'Rivera

  • 'My Sax Life,' D'Rivera's new autobiography
  • 'Paquito D'Rivera Presents Las Hermanas Marquez' -- the Grammy-nominated CD
  • Generoso Jimenez
  • New Jersey Performing Arts Center
  • 'When the Spirits Dance Mambo,' a documentary and memoir by Dr. Marta Moreno Vega

    The concert is part of the Alternate Routes festival at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Thanks to Leon Denmark and Baraka Sele. Thanks also to Brenda Feliciano.
    Our crew is Producer/Director Josh Jackson, Technical Director Brian McCabe with Spencer Graves, Yujin Cha, and music mixer Duke Markos with location recording by Steve Remote of Aurasonic Limited. Thanks to Adam Kushner.
    Additional recording at KUNV Las Vegas by Ginger Bruner.
    Our producer is Becca Pulliam, executive producer Thurston Briscoe III at Jazz 88, WBGO in Newark.

    Copyright 2007 NPR