Though best known as a master of Latin jazz, Paquito D’Rivera straddles many musical worlds, including classical. A composer as well as a legendary instrumentalist, D’Rivera received the 2007 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition and has written commissions for leading orchestras. “Whether playing Bach or post-bop,” one critic once observed, “D’Rivera’s mastery of the instruments and his expressive capability is unquestionable.”
D’Rivera, who will appear with his quintet March 8 in an SCP Jazz concert, has racked up numerous honors over the years, including 14 Grammy Awards and the NEA Jazz Master designation in 2005. But did you know:
*He started out on saxophones at age 5 and later picked up the clarinet.
*At the tender age of 7 years old, he became the youngest musician to endorse a musical instrument, Selmer saxophones.
*He’s one of only two people ever to receive a Grammy in a jazz as well as classical category (other being Wynton Marsalis).
*He was a member of the Cuban fusion group Irakere when it became the first post-Castro Cuban band to sign with an American label.
*He’s a punster: He chose the title My Sax Life for his autobiography.
Photo: Ricardo Rios