D’RIVERA Paquito, Cape Cod Files

Chiquita Blues 

The Cuban-American composer, saxophonist and clarinettist Paquito D’Rivera was born in Havana. After working with several Cuban ensembles (including the National Symphony Orchestra), D’Rivera decided to defect to the United States in 1980. Since then he has had an extremely successful career as both a jazz and classical musician in America with twelve Grammy Awards to his name. Cape Cod Files was written in 2009 for the clarinettist Jon Manasse and pianist Jon Nakamatsu and was first performed by them on 11 August 2009 in Cotuit, Massachusetts, as part of the 30th Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival. 


D’Riveira has written that ‘Benny@100’ was ‘inspired by Benny Goodman’s unique way of jazz phrasing, as well as his incursions in the so-called classical arena. This movement is a celebration of 100th birthday.’ ‘Bandoneon’ evokes the sound of the Bandoneon, the instrument that is sometimes described as ‘the soul of the tango’. D’Riveira writes that ‘Lecuonerias’ comprises ‘unaccompanied solo clarinet improvisations around some of the melodies written by the foremost Cuban composer, Ernesto Lecuona.’ And ‘Chiquita Blues’ was inspired by a novel about the extraordinary life of the Cuban singer and actress known as Chiquita (Espiridona Cenda) who was just 26 inches tall and had a successful career on stage in New York. 


© Nigel Simeone


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