Paquito D Rivera introduces, Paquito Records, with the premier release of Paquito D Rivera Quintet? Funk Tango. With over 50 recordings in the varied musical styles that he loves to perform and create, Paquito finally has a label where he can be himself. Paquito Records. With Paquito D Rivera Quintet? Funk Tango an allegory to the fact that his quintet can sometimes be a trio or a sextet, or an orchestra, or a duo, he is joined by his trusted core musicians, some of which have been with him for almost 20 years. These are, Mark Walker on drums, Oscar Stagnaro on bass, Diego Urcola on trumpet and valve-trombone, Alon Yavnai, on piano, Pernell Saturnino on percussion and Hector Del Curto on Bandoneon, with additional pianists Ed Simon, (an old band member), and Fernando Otero, and newcomer Pablo Stagnaro on cajon.
This recording features original compositions from practically all the band members, and highlights the diversity of styles in composition as well as performance. You will surely enjoy a journey, from a funky tango, as the title suggest, to Peruvian rhythms on Mariela s Dream to the elegant Cuban Contradanza , by the way of a bolero, to a waltz, samba, milonga, to the final return of the jazz standard Giant Steps .
Alto saxophonist and clarinetist D'Rivera is hard bop's pan-American ambassador at large. Long a master of his native Cuba's rich musical heritage and a disciple of bebop, D'Rivera showcases styles from one end of the Americas to the other on his latest album, with an emphasis on tango.
The band negotiates Astor Piazzolla's complex "Revirado" with the requisite relaxed precision, then D'Rivera opens it up to bop harmonies and phrasings that cast new light on the nuevo tango classic. The title track is a slinky fusion of Argentine and African-American musics that zips along at an exhilaratingly caffeinated tempo. Juan Tizol's Ellingtonian chestnut "Caravan" is recast as a tango, with the band slipping gracefully among several tempos and rhythms.
D'Rivera works with a rotating cast of pianists, and his duet with Alon Yavnai on "Contradanza" is both charming and virtuosic. "Pere" jumps out of the gate at a gallop, with long springing eighth-note phrases that spur both pianist (and composer) Ed Simon and D'Rivera into fast and furious solos. Trumpeter Diego Urcola makes his recording debut on valve trombone and the chestier, mellower sound of the instrument suits his lyrical style beautifully on "Final Waltz" and "Como un Bolero," a luscious Afro-Cuban ballad. At one point during his clarinet solo on the joyful samba "What About That!" D'Rivera quotes "Fascinating Rhythm." That pretty much sums up this album.
- Ed Hazell --Jazziz - Sept. 2007